As we get older, increasing our screenings for medical issues becomes a way of life. For women, mammograms become vitally important after age 40, and for both men and women, colon cancer screenings also become important after the age of 50. But for some types of illnesses, screenings aren’t recommended to everyone, unless they display symptoms.
One such screening that often doesn’t get recommended enough is screening for sleep apnea. While screening for sleep apnea isn’t a regularly scheduled screening for most, there are certainly key indicators that you should look out for that might help warn you that you could have sleep apnea.
These symptoms include things like snoring, stopping and restarting breathing, not getting a restful night’s sleep, frequent waking, daytime lethargy, impaired cognitive function, depression, obesity, and the worsening of some serious medical conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer.
If you or someone you love exhibits any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor about getting screened for sleep apnea. While a sleep study can often occur overnight in a sleep clinic, today it’s easier than ever to be screened at home. Machinery can be signed out for the evening to take sleep readings, and then returned for analysis the next day. These tests are nearly as accurate as conducting a sleep study in a sleep clinic, and are extremely helpful in getting an accurate sleep apnea diagnosis.
Recently, the US Military made headlines when the results of a sleep study among officers was conducted. Surprisingly, it found that many enrolled in the military suffered from sleep apnea without realizing it. Similarly, a study was conducted with long distance truck drivers, and found that many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea, which is extremely dangerous for both military members and truck drivers, who often keep abnormal hours and operate heavy equipment during the day.
While things like impaired cognitive function may not seem like a big deal, this can literally be the difference between life and death for some. That’s what makes screening for sleep apnea so important.
Furthermore, screening for sleep apnea can also help lessen the severity of symptoms for serious illness, helping you to live a longer, healthier life. With so many great reasons to screen for sleep apnea, hopefully it will become a regularly scheduled screening for all adults, but in the meantime, look out for symptoms on your own, and if you notice anything mentioned above, speak to your physician about getting screened.
The great news about sleep apnea diagnosis is that it’s treatable. Dr. Abelar offers sleep apnea solutions such as sleep orthotics to help position your airway open manually as you sleep. These comfortable devices are custom fit to your mouth, and are easy to clean. They require no machinery, masks, pumps, or electricity to operate, and most people find them more pleasant to use, thus using them more frequently than CPAP therapy.
To learn more about the sleep apnea solutions available from Dr. Abelar, please contact the office today!