With the recent news of how sleep apnea contributed to the passing of beloved actress, author, and comedian Carrie Fisher, the importance of understanding the condition has become more prominent. It has been reported that Ms. Fisher might not have even known she suffered from sleep apnea. Some sources also state she was on a variety of medications that can cause central nervous depression. If this is true, the sleep apnea may have been significantly amplified, thereby causing cardiac arrest.
Unfortunately, it is fairly common for individuals to be unaware they have sleep apnea, especially women. Although this condition can pose many serious health risks, it can be difficult to recognize on your own. Generally speaking, most individuals who are diagnosed with sleep apnea discover it after concern is raised by a bed partner who notices snoring and/or pauses in breath while sleeping. Without a loved one’s suspicion, patients typically need to notice some of the symptoms on their own (such as chronic headaches or being tired throughout the day) to be diagnosed. For some patients, particularly older women, these side effects may be attributed to something else, such as menopause. Some women also may be too embarrassed to discuss snoring when speaking with their doctor, so it’s possible they might downplay their symptoms and continue to go undiagnosed.
Educating yourself about sleep apnea and its related symptoms can help protect your health. If diagnosed, there are a number of solutions available to help prevent the dangerous health risks associated with the condition. At my practice, I help patients live happier, healthier lives by providing them with effective treatments like custom-made oral appliances that not only reduce (or eliminate) snoring, but also enable patients to get more restful sleep.
To learn more about sleep apnea, or to discover your available options in a one-on-one consultation, please contact my office today.
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