If you are feeling fatigued or low on energy during the day, the cause might be sleep apnea. But unless you say the magic words "I'm sleepy," it's a diagnosis that your doctor may miss.
Sleep Apnea is a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep, most often because the throat is blocked for a few seconds by the tongue or other tissues located in the back of the throat. When researchers at the University of Michigan asked 190 people with this condition to select their most significant symptom, 40% chose lack of energy, while only 22% said sleepiness. Many even denied being sleepy (Chest, Aug 2000).
Some experts believe that more than 90% of women and 80% of men with sleep apnea are undiagnosed.
Getting a diagnosis - and treatment (most often a nasal mask that provides pressurized air to keep the throat open during sleep) - is important. Sleep apnea is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmia and heart failure. Reduction of long-term risk for these conditions can be achieved through diagnosis and treatment.
But there's an immediate bonus: Many sleep apnea patients who are treated feel more energetic - like they've got life back.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you could be suffering from one of several sleep disorders:
A night or two in a sleep lab is the best way to diagnose sleep apnea and several other sleep disorders. Some of the signs that suggest that you should speak to your doctor about a referral for a sleep test and evaluation with our sleep specialist are listed below:
We know how difficult it can be to find a sleep lab that provides both good customer service, as well as, a top-quality sleep study. In order to streamline sleep disorder evaluations for our patients, we have collaborated with the Northside Hospital — Cherokee Sleep Center. This collaboration provides our patients with the very best in sleep medicine care.
If you or someone you know suffers from excessive daytime sleepiness, contact us for an evaluation today!