The Health Threat That is Strangling Men in Their Sleep
A recent article in Men’s Health Magazine (November 2010) raises awareness of sleep apnea in young otherwise healthy men, an often overlooked health condition. Once thought to be a condition for people who are overweight and out of shape, it is now known that even if you are a healthy athlete, you can be starving for breath in your sleep and not even realize it.
Sleep apnea is a syndrome where a person’s airway repeatedly collapses during sleep. Breathing becomes labored and can stop altogether for up to a minute. This can happen over a hundred times during the course of a night’s sleep. Over time this puts stress on the cardiovascular system. A caution highlighted in the article is that chronic stress on the heart during athletic events can make victims very vulnerable to the strain sleep apnea puts on their hearts.
Some symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches, heartburn or sour taste in the mouth at night, swelling legs, sweating, chest pains, choking or gasping, and getting up several times throughout the night.
Treatments may include a CPAP machine, surgery, or an oral appliance made by your dentist.
Dr. Smith became passionate about this cause and became educated in dental sleep medicine when a family member, who was a young and fit athlete, was diagnosed with sleep apnea. If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, talk with a doctor or dentist trained in sleep medicine about scheduling a sleep study. Your life may depend on it.