Thursday, June 18, 2009

Surprised by Sleep Apnea: Women, Weight & OSA

Earlier this week Washington Post staff writer Valerie Strauss shared how she discovered that she has obstructive sleep apnea.

The sleep disorder was undetected by some doctors she had seen. And the discovery was a surprise to her. She didn’t fit the description of the typical sleep apnea patient.

Often it is overweight men who have sleep apnea. But as
the AASM has reported, women can have sleep apnea too.

And sleep apnea may occur in people who maintain a healthy weight. A
study presented last week at SLEEP 2009 found a high rate of sleep apnea in non-obese adults.

What were the
warning signs that Strauss had noticed? She often felt tired after waking up. She also was having memory problems. And her husband complained about her loud snoring.

These are common symptoms of sleep apnea.
Another recent study shows that people with sleep apnea also may report having fatigue or a lack of energy.

But initially doctors put the blame for her exhaustion on other problems. Maybe she was anxious. Or depressed. Or maybe she was going through a hormonal change.

Finally an
overnight sleep study at a sleep disorders center confirmed that sleep apnea was the culprit. During the study she had an average of 27 breathing pauses per hour of sleep.

The diagnosis enabled Strauss to get the treatment she needed. The sleep center ordered a
CPAP unit for her and had it delivered to her home; the cost was covered by her health insurance provider.

Now she is able to sleep better, and her snoring has stopped. That’s good news for her and her husband.

Are you at risk for sleep apnea?
STOP and find out. You also can answer these questions on to learn more about your risk.

On you also can learn how a sleep study may be
your best investment for long-term health.

Get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

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