Category: Sleep Apnea

It’s Time to Get (Dead) Serious About Sleep Apnea

Passengers on subway platform as train passes byIn November, 2016, a Hoboken (NJ) commuter train crashed into the station platform at double its allowable speed causing falling debris and the unfortunate death of a woman standing on the platform. About 100 were injured. Just prior to the crash, the train reportedly sped around a curve at over 80 mph. The speed limit was 30 mph.

A few months later, a train on the Long Island Railroad crashed into the end of a track at the Atlantic Terminal Station in Brooklyn causing 108 injuries and over $5 million in damages.

 
In 2013, a few years prior, a Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line train (New York City) crashed into a curve at a speed 3x the allowable limit causing 4 fatalities, 61 injuries and $9 million in damage.

 

The cause of all three train crashes was sleep apnea.

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Sleep Apnea Linked to Alzheimer’s and Asthma

Asthmatics Have a 40% Greater Risk of Sleep Apnea
According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, those suffering with asthma have a 40% greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. About 550 men and women participated in the study, all between the ages of 30 – 60 years of age. After 4 years, 27% of those who entered the study with asthma showed signs of sleep apnea. Only 16% of non-asthmatics who entered the study showed new signs of sleep apnea. However, by study’s’ end, the authors concluded that those with asthma were 40% more likely to acquire sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Sufferers Show Signs of Alzheimer’s Earlier
And in an unrelated study performed by the NYU School of Medicine, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring may be associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The study indicated that participants who had sleep apnea tended to be diagnosed with a mild form of Alzheimer’s at 77 years, a full decade before others who didn’t exhibit the sleeping disorder. When treated with a CPAP, the signs of Alzheimer’s were delayed significantly, up to 10 years. The key here is that regulating sleeping patterns did not cure or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s but it did seem to delay it.

It’s important to note that the study’s author warned that it only indicated an association between sleep disruption and mild mental impairment (such as Alzheimer’s). It was not clinically proven that sleep apnea caused mental impairment.

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Childhood Obesity Can Cause Sleep Apnea

Childhood obesity can create many health problems for children. Some health problems include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II Diabetes, hip problems, depression and livers that are fatty and fail to function properly.  Children can also suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Another health problem is the development of ear, nose and throat problems. Obesity can cause a child to develop sleep apnea and there may be a relationship to middle ear infections, as well.

It’s important to recognize the impact that overweight and obesity is having on the health of children because, despite programs that encourage exercise and healthy foods, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has doubled over the last twenty years.  More than 15 percent1 of children between the ages of 6 and 11 and more than 15 percent1 of those between the ages of 12 to 19 are overweight or obese.

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The Husband That Fell Asleep In The Exam Room

Older Man with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and Sleep ApneaDuring a recent office-based sinus surgery, the husband of my patient fell asleep in the exam room. She told me that he often falls asleep when he sits down. He was a bit embarrassed when we woke him but we assured him that he need not worry. I asked him if he is frequently tired during the day, to which he responded “Doc, I’m 70 years old. Of course I get tired!” His wife interrupted to add that they haven’t slept in the same bed for years due to his snoring. The interesting thing is that he is a hearing loss patient of BergerHenry ENT but never mentioned his daytime fatigue or snoring. We discussed a sleep study but he decided against it.

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Sleep Apnea Statistics and Facts 2016

The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway. However, in central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.

When left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, weight gain, memory problems, impotency and headaches. Untreated sleep apnea may also cause job impairment and vehicle accidents. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Both medical and surgical options are available.

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Don Shula Hospitalized Due to Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Pro Football Hall of Famer, Don Shula, has been hospitalized recently due to complications associated with sleep apnea (OSA). The Miami dolphins legendary coach has suffered from fluid retention likely related to sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a common condition. Studies in the 1990’s show that nearly 25% of middle-aged men and 9% of middle-aged women in the United States are afflicted with this condition. This number continues to escalate due to ever increasing rates of obesity. Furthermore, the prevalence of sleep apnea increases with aging. (1-3)

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Behavior Of Children With Higher Intellectual Ability Improves As Much As That Of Other Kids After Adenotonsillectomy For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders may go unrecognized in high performing children. Poor school performance is often a warning sign to teachers, administrators and parents of an underlying behavioral or sleep disorder. However, the warning signs of poor sleep can be ignored if a child is performing well academically. The symptoms of sleep apnea (OSA) can be easy to miss in children. While adults with OSA tend to complain of daytime fatigue, children may become hyperactive or irritable. This often leads to a misdiagnosis of attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder.

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