Text Resize
Print
Email
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Tuesday September 21, 2021

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

The Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

How can you know when someone has sleep apnea? My husband has become such a terrible snorer that he wakes himself up at night, and he keeps me up too.

If your husband is a loud snorer who wakes himself up during sleep, he probably needs to be tested for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that affects more than 22 million Americans, but often goes undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea may cause a person to stop breathing during sleep hundreds of times for 10 seconds or more at a time. Left untreated, it can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, as well as a host of serious health conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and dementia. It is estimated that every year around 38,000 Americans die in their sleep from a heart attack or stroke stemming from sleep apnea. The good news is that sleep apnea is usually very treatable and many insurance companies cover the treatment.

Who Has It?


There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is by far the most common and occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, blocking the airway.

While anyone can have it, sleep apnea is most common in middle-aged or older males who are overweight. For women, the risk increases after menopause.

The symptoms include loud snoring (however not everyone who snores has sleep apnea), long pauses of breathing, gasping or choking during sleep and daytime drowsiness. Because most of these symptoms happen during sleep, most people do not recognize them. It is usually someone who sleeps in the same room who notices it.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea


To help you diagnose sleep apnea, the American Sleep Apnea Association has several diagnostic tests to take at SleepApnea.org/treat. Click on "Test Yourself."

If the screening indicates that your husband may have sleep apnea, he should consult with his doctor or a sleep specialist, who will probably recommend an overnight diagnostic sleep test. This is called a polysomnography and can take place at a sleep center lab or at home using a portable device.

Treatment Options


Your husband is at greater risk for sleep apnea if he is overweight, smokes, or consumes excessive amounts of alcohol. Excess weight, especially around the neck, puts pressure on the airway, which can cause it to collapse. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. Alcohol and sleeping pills can relax the muscles in the back of the throat, interfering with breathing. Addressing these issues, if necessary, is usually the first line of treatment.

If that does not eliminate the problem, mild cases of sleep apnea may respond to oral devices, such as a removable mouth guard or retainer. These devices work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open during sleep.

There are newly FDA-approved noninvasive treatment options to consider as well. One treats sleep apnea and snoring by improving tongue muscle function through a mouthpiece that is worn for just 20 minutes during the day.

The most effective and commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This involves sleeping with a snorkel-like mask that is hooked up to a machine that gently blows air up the nose to keep the passages open.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published July 16, 2021
Print
Email
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Previous Articles

Smartphone Tips for Tech-Shy Users

How to Pick the Best Place to Retire

How to Downsize Your Home for a Move

How to Find Discounted High-Speed Internet Services

Golf Gadgets That Can Help Older Golfers

scriptsknown
  • Bequests
    Bequests
    Joe and Anna have been faithful supporters of our organization. They believe it is important to help further our mission.
    More
  • Using a Beneficiary Designation to Make a Gift to Charity
    Using a Beneficiary Designation to Make a Gift to Charity
    Joanne and her late husband Hal had been longtime supporters of our organization. Recently, Joanne's children encouraged...
    More
  • Fixed Income for Retirement
    Fixed Income for Retirement
    After working for decades as a pediatrician in a small town, Patricia is ready to retire.
    More
  • Tax-Free Sale
    Tax-Free Sale
    Howard and Lynn were both age 55 when they purchased some vacant land a few miles outside of town. They thought real estate would be a good investment that could be sold later for a profit.
    More
  • Capital Gains Tax Bypassed
    Capital Gains Tax Bypassed
    Peter and Gail were nearing retirement. Over the years, with the help of their financial advisor, they made solid investments in securities and built a sizable portfolio.
    More
  • Peace of Mind Gift Annuity
    Peace of Mind Gift Annuity
    Many years ago, Clara bought a home. Since she was very pleased with her home, she bought stock in the company that built the home.
    More
  • Endowment Gift
    Endowment Gift
    Pat and Shelly were recently married. They both had been dedicated volunteers at their favorite charity for many years.
    More
  • Sale and Unitrust
    Sale and Unitrust
    Gene and Carol purchased stock in a small medical service company several years ago. The company has done well.
    More
  • The Retirement Unitrust
    The Retirement Unitrust
    Mary grew up on a farm. When her parents passed away, she and her husband Bill inherited the farm.
    More
  • Property Turns Into Income
    Property Turns Into Income
    Miranda lived in the family home where she and her spouse had raised their three children. After her spouse passed away, Miranda found it increasingly difficult to care for her property.
    More
  • Flexible Deferred Gift Annuity
    Flexible Deferred Gift Annuity
    Luis is a 54-year-old executive at a large healthcare company. He purchased company stock during years when the stock price was low, and now the stock has grown substantially in value.
    More
  • Part Gift and Part Sale
    Part Gift and Part Sale
    Susan and Kevin bought a vacant lot along Lake Michigan many years ago. They had planned to build a second home so that their family could spend their summers along the lake.
    More
  • Current Gifts
    Current Gifts
    As is the case with many families, there are times each year when Jim and Sharon focus their attention on gift giving.
    More
  • Gift of a Bank Account When No Longer Needed (POD)
    Gift of a Bank Account When No Longer Needed (POD)
    Keith has been a faithful supporter of The Marfan Foundation and makes regular gifts to support our work.
    More
  • Transferable on Death (TOD) Gifts
    Transferable on Death (TOD) Gifts
    Harold and Jeanne married after meeting at an event The Marfan Foundation held for our donors. They wanted to leave a legacy gift...
    More
  • A Bequest to Further Good Work
    A Bequest to Further Good Work
    Nancy and David were dedicated volunteers. Over the years, they had seen many individuals helped by the good work of their favorite charity.
    More
  • Deferred Gift Annuity
    Deferred Gift Annuity
    Several years ago, Larry and Allison invested $30,000 in what they believed to be an attractive stock.
    More
  • What Will You Do with Your Unspent Retirement Savings?
    What Will You Do with Your Unspent Retirement Savings?
    Michael and Kelly were retired engineers with two adult children. They owned a home, some stocks, and IRAs.
    More
  • Gift Annuity for Real Estate
    Gift Annuity for Real Estate
    Jonathan purchased his home many years ago for $80,000. The home is now worth $420,000. Jonathan wants to sell his home and buy a condo for $130,000.
    More
  • A Bequest to Save Taxes
    A Bequest to Save Taxes
    Thomas was a widower who had a great love for our organization. As an individual who had directly benefited from our work, Thomas wanted to thank us with a gift from his estate.
    More
  • Leading for the Future
    Leading for the Future
    Luke and Cynthia spent many years volunteering and supporting their favorite charity. They wanted to give back in a way that would help fulfill its mission.
    More
  • Give it Twice Trust
    Give it Twice Trust
    While visiting her favorite charity's website, June came across the idea of a give it twice trust. She contacted the charity for more information.
    More
  • Providing for Our Children's Future
    Providing for Our Children's Future
    Ron and Kathy worked for many years building their nest egg for retirement.
    More
  • Bequest of Insurance
    Bequest of Insurance
    Marla and Wayne purchased a life insurance policy many years ago to create security for their children's future.
    More
  • Testamentary Charitable Remainder Unitrust: Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!
    Testamentary Charitable Remainder Unitrust: Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!
    We have all heard the saying "You can't have your cake and eat it too." This phrase describes a situation where we want two good things at the same time when that isn't possible.
    More
  • A Personal Donor Story
    A Personal Donor Story
    "I want the work of the foundation to go forward whether I'm here or not"
    Estate planning is your final statement about the causes you care about
    More