What is Sleep Apnea and Why is it a Concern?

By Suleman Iqbal, MD

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that disrupts an individual’s rest. During periods of sleep, you actually stop breathing, sometimes missing hundreds of breaths of oxygen – oxygen your body and brain desperately need. If left untreated, it and can cause serious health concerns.

Snoring

If untreated, sleep apnea can result in …

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart conditions including irregular beats, heart attacks, and heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Increased symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHA)
  • Headaches
  • Decreased energy
  • Poor daytime performance in such activities as work or school

But if you are asleep, how do you know if you are at risk?

If you have a partner, they might help you identify any of the following:

  • Loud snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Periods when you seem to stop breathing
  • Occasions when you awaken gasping for breath

You might also notice in yourself:

  • Morning headaches
  • Awaking with a sore, dry throat
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy throughout your day, even though you believe you had a full night’s sleep
  • Forgetfulness or mood changes

If you are concerned about the potential for sleep apnea, talk to your doctor or contact an Intermountain Healthcare Sleep Center. They may recommend a sleep study, either at home or in one of our facilities. There are also different treatment options include CPAP therapy, nighttime dental appliances, positional therapy, or weight loss programs. For details, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/sleep-medicine/.

To learn more about sleep apnea, getting a better nights rest, and sleep in general, tune into KUTV Channel 2 on Tuesday, July 11th when Intermountain Healthcare caregivers will be discussing sleep on Ask the Expert. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day with experts providing interviews during news and other broadcasts.

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If you have your own questions, our panel of experts will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #KUTVAsktheExpert.

For more information, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/asktheexpert.