People often joke about snoring, but it’s not always a laughing matter. Sawing logs is the main symptom of sleep apnea, a serious problem that threatens your heart and your health. Fortunately, the board-certified sleep specialists at two convenient locations can help if you have this common problem.
About 12 million Americans have sleep apnea. If you are older than 40, a man, or a smoker, you are more likely to be among them. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are: loud or frequent snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, daytime sleepiness or tiredness after you wake up. These disruptions to your slumber can make you irritable and forgetful and you may feel sleepy during the day.
Sleep apnea also poses serious risks for your health. The condition increases risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and heart failure. The good news? “Recent studies show treating sleep apnea can decrease blood pressure, improve your body’s ability to use insulin, and reduce signs of heart failure, among other benefits,” explains Dr. Sajjan Nemani. “See your doctor if you snore, especially if it’s followed by choking or gasping. He or she might recommend a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea.”
Don’t lose sleep worrying that this test will have to be done in the hospital. Most people can do the test from home. Sleep centers in Centralia and Mt. Vernon are accredited for in-home sleep testing by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is how it works: On the day of your test, you’ll have an office appointment and learn how to set up the testing device, which is about the size of a cell phone. A technologist will be on call through the night in case you have a question. You’ll attach the sensors in the device when you’re ready to go to sleep, and unhook them when you wake up. After you return the device to one of the sleep centers, the information gathered by the device will be interpreted by a sleep specialist. Your health care provider will discuss the results and your treatment options with you. Treatments include weight loss, a mask you wear at night, or surgery to open breathing passages.
The St. Mary’s Hospital Sleep Disorders Center located in Centralia can be reached by calling 618.436.8635. The Sleep & Neurology Center of Southern Illinois is in Mt. Vernon and can be reached by calling 618.241.1869.