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How to Help a Co-worker Who Might Be Suffering from Sleep Apnea

Posted On November 25, 2013
November 25, 2013

It has been weeks since your co-worker Danny seemed to be his normal self. Gone are the days when he actively participated in brainstorming project sessions and if Danny does actually talk, he rambles on or doesn’t make sense. He is moody and easily irritated, and you know for a fact that he has constant morning headaches sometimes accompanied by a dry or sore throat. You are worried about Danny and want to help. What can you do to help a co-worker who might be suffering from sleep apnea?

With close to 80% of the population walking around with undiagnosed sleep apnea, it is not far-fetched that your co-worker Danny in the above scenario might be experiencing the symptoms of this disease and not know it. Sleep apnea is defined as periodic episodes of breathing cessation during the course of a night’s worth of sleep. With air not flowing freely to your lungs, there is a drop in oxygen levels in the blood. Hence, no surprise that sleep apnea is a debilitating and life-shortening condition that can impact not only your livelihood but life.

There are two types of sleep apnea with the only difference being the primary cause:  obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).  With OSA, there is a physical barrier to breathing so that your airway is obstructed. With CSA, the signals to your brain are faulty and don’t adequately tell your muscles to go ahead and breathe. With either form of sleep apnea, it is important to get properly diagnosed because the disease increases your risk for other life-threatening conditions when not treated such as potentially high blood pressure, heart attack and failure, and stroke.

When most people think about sleep apnea, they immediately visualize an individual snoring, and loudly, like a freight train or jack hammer. Taking the picture to the next level, the individual also might be a middle-aged and overweight man but not all sleep apnea sufferers fit this description. Young and fit men and women can also have sleep apnea. Besides snoring, some of the other symptoms that can be attributed to sleep apnea are the following: excessive sleepiness and non-refreshing sleep, mood and behavior changes, morning headaches and sore/dry throat, lack of concentration and memory issues, insomnia and night sweats.

Lack of awareness of sleep apnea contributes the high percentage of individuals walking around and not knowing that this disease can be so much more than just snoring. It is important for anyone like Danny to seek an accurate sleep disorder diagnosis from an expert in the field. A sleep study should be ordered and will accurately tell the number of respiratory disturbance during the course of the night. This information along with other factors will assist the physician in determining the best course of sleep apnea treatment for each patient on an individualized basis.

Don’t let Danny or others like him suffer needlessly with possible sleep apnea. Encourage them to get properly diagnosed so that they can return to their former selves.

If you suspect you might have sleep apnea or been diagnosed and would like to find out what individualized treatment option might be available for you, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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