Saturday, December 30, 2006

Can Snoring Kill You?

by S. Brent Ridge, M.D.

No, I'm not talking about the thoughts that have raced through your bed partner's mind! I'm talking about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

For most people, snoring is just an annoyance, but for sufferers of sleep apnea, snoring can be a significant alarm system.

People with sleep apnea have short periods during sleep where they stop breathing. These periods last anywhere from 10 seconds to 40 seconds and can occur as many as 400 times per night. If you do the math, this means that the average person with sleep apnea spends more than three hours a night not breathing normally or not breathing at all. That can't be healthy.
It's not.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Loud snoring
Choking sounds during sleep
Falling asleep during the day
Trouble with memory and attention
Irritability
Decreased libido
Impotency in men and menstrual irregularities in women
Heartburn
Dry mouth in the morning
Morning headaches

(I recognize some of these symptoms in Chris & Jaymes, obviously it runs in the family. Jaymes has already taken the Apnea test & is being treated by Dr Jenny Tang of KKH. Although I have informed Jaymes' school about his condition, his teachers & even the principal are still picking on him for falling asleep in class. I hope all of them get OSA so they can understand what Jaymes is going through. Cold-blooded a******s!)

Persons with sleep apnea have a higher death rate than the average person, are five times more likely to be in a fatigue-related car accident, are 10 times more likely to have a stroke, and have high rates of hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias.

Snoring is one of those things that we don't tend to pay a lot of attention to. In fact, many people don't even bring it up when they talk to their doctor. An overnight sleep study is necessary to document sleep apnea, but, trust me - everyone will rest easier if the condition is treated properly.

Perhaps this is one item you should add to your new year's resolution list. Do any of you know anyone with sleep apnea? Or do you suffer from it yourself? If so, share your experiences.

12 comments:

  1. For a moment there, I thought you were talking about the Officai Secrets Act, hee. Those NEA people really freaked me out.

    I have a good friend who went for a sleep test at the Raffles Hospital. I think the doctor prescribed him a brace to wear so that his tongue will not fall back and block his airway during sleep. He found it very uncomfortable and did not wear it. He has been a long-time smoker and I think that aggravated his problem.

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  2. Thanks for surfing by my blog.Please do try the recipes that appeal to you and your family. Also let me know how it turned out.Some of my recipes could be a bit high on the spice level. Just reduce the quantity of spice if you can't handle too spicy food. You have a nice blog. Quiet an interesting read on snoring.

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  3. Victor!!!
    haha...Official Secret Acts!

    My son's on medication though. And a subject for study on Apnea.

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  4. Hi Pravs!
    We can take real spicy food. Will definitely try your recipes. They look just too good!

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  5. How is the Apnea test like? Is it an expensive test to take?

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  6. Jaymes' fees are subsidised. For the Apnea test, he had to stay a night at the hospital, with many electrodes connected to him. A medical technician monitored his sleep pantern throughout the night. 1st test was not good becos Jaymes couldn't sleep well.

    We have to pay slightly more then S$1000 (also subsidised)for the research study. It's the drugs that cost more.

    Really have to thank Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan for the subsidised fees or else we would have to pay quite a lot.

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  7. My Dad is 81. He has light stroke recently, PLUS diabetes, high-blood pressure and cholesterol :)

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  8. Gee... the Slim Lady (that's my dear wife) always complains that I snore. But I'm blissfully unware of it. But I reckon most men, when they reach a certain age, and when life's good and they seem to put on some tyre in the middle, would snore. As for OSA, is it something that evolves from "normal" snoring? You scare me leh....

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  9. Chris, it doesn't evolve from normal snoring. Check yourself against the list of symptons.

    With 2 cases in the family, I'm 'qualified' to do a check, want me to check you? hahaha.......

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  10. Hi, Found a cool news widget for our blogs at www.widgetmate.com. Now I can show the latest news on my blog. Worked like a breeze.

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  11. Hallo. I came across your nice blog about Stop Snoring. Snoring is a bigger problem in relationships than what many of my friends and experts had originally thought. Snoring is a real problem that at times can separate a couple within their own home and eventually break up a marriage or relationship without really knowing that snoring was the original underlying culprit.

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  12. Hello, I came across this story of yours how snoring can kill you. I unfortunately snore, but IDK if its killing me. This is what happens when I snore: Loud snoring, dry mouth when I wake up after sleeping, and I usually can't fall asleep till between 2am to 4am.

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