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Tips on Discussing Sleep Apnea with a Loved One

Posted On March 30, 2014
discussing sleep apnea
March 30, 2014

It has been weeks since you were able to get a solid 8 hours of sleep. Your head hits the pillow and you are off to Slumber Land. The problem is not with you, but with your significant other. His snoring wakes you from sound sleep. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if you shake him awake or not, the snoring is ever-present. And the side effects trickle down and affect life during the day. Your loved one is constantly complaining of headaches. His boss is worried about his inability to stay on task and concentrate in order to complete projects. And he is quick to fly off the handle. From your Internet research, you believe your husband has sleep apnea. But how do you broach the subject when he even denies that he snores? You are in luck as there are a number of tips on discussing sleep apnea with a loved one.

Discussing Sleep Apnea with a Loved One

Close to 80% of people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are walking around  not diagnosed and untreated. It is not far-fetched that the loved one described above might be experiencing the symptoms of this disease and not know it. Lack of awareness of sleep apnea contributes to the high percentage of individuals not knowing that this disease can be so much more than just snoring.

The following are some tips that can help:

What is OSA?

Knowing what exactly OSA is key. The condition is defined as periodic episodes of breathing cessation during the course of a night’s sleep. With air not flowing freely to the lungs, there is a drop in oxygen levels in the blood. Hence, it’s no surprise that sleep apnea is a debilitating and life-shortening condition that can impact life and livelihood. With OSA, there is a physical barrier to breathing because the airway is obstructed.

Point Out Life-Threatening Risks

It is important to get your loved one properly diagnosed because there is a statistically significant increase in risk for other life-threatening conditions when not treated, such as potentially high blood pressure, heart attack and failure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. If he has high blood pressure that is not being helped by medication or uncontrolled diabetes, sleep apnea might be contributing to the severity. When you treat sleep apnea, the other conditions are helped as well.

Catch Them in the Act

Many spouses deny they snore or have an issue. The proof is in the pudding. Try downloading SnoreOMeter, which is a free app designed to provide verification that snoring is a reality for a doubting family member as well as education about the underlying condition. The app functions to record someone snoring, which can then be submitted to sleep apnea specialists at Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America (SATCOA) for consultation to determine whether or not he or she might be a candidate for medical treatment. Upon recording, the snore is evaluated for decibel level and time between snores, with a visual characterization of the sound compared to a blow dryer, vacuum cleaner, jackhammer, jet or a rocket ship.

Proper Diagnosis

It is important to seek an accurate sleep disorder diagnosis from a physician. A sleep study should be ordered and will accurately tell the number of respiratory disturbances 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 your loved one 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, and the added bonus: you can get rest and sleep like a baby again.

If you suspect your loved one 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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