Sleep apnea is often the missing link in healthcare - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Sleep apnea is often the missing link in healthcare

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Many people with sleep apnea often struggle with unexplained or puzzling health issues. A visit to the doctor can become frustrating when nagging health issues seem to go unresolved. Another pill for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, even unending dieting seem to yield little or no results. Patients say, "I just don't feel any better."

Health care professionals now more than ever are screening their patients for sleep apnea because the link between sleep apnea and these nagging or unexplained health issues are becoming increasingly clear in light of recent studies.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Snoring is the number one symptom of sleep apnea. Researchers are finding many major healthcare issues are related to sleep apnea. A link exists between sleep apnea and heart failure. The two conditions commonly occur together, one study suggests that as many as 37% of people with heart failure also have sleep apnea. 

A recent study suggests that treating sleep apnea may also have a beneficial effect on heart failure. Some evidence suggests that periods of sleep apnea and low blood oxygen levels, along with high blood pressure, increase the risk of coronary heart disease. More than half of people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure, and, unlike most people, their blood pressure levels do not fall during sleep. 

Sleep apnea has been shown to be an independent, treatable cause of high blood pressure. Other health issues related to sleep apnea include, diabetes, obesity, depression, headaches, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke. If you or someone you know snores, overweight and struggling with what seems to be unexplained or nagging health issues, ask your doctor about a sleep test, it could prove to be a valuable link.

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