We didn’t talk about it much a few years ago, but sleep apnea is a health-related subject that we are talking about more and more, and for good reason! Indeed, it is estimated that this health condition, which can potentially have serious complications, remains largely under-diagnosed in the population. In general, it is beneficial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, as well as its risk factors. This allows us to react better in case of doubt and to seek help from the right health professionals.
In the following, we answer 3 questions on the subject to help raise public awareness and help you understand how our home services fit into the management of sleep apnea.
Why is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing breaks during sleep, which can last more than 10 seconds and occur several dozen times a night. These breathing breaks, apneas, greatly affect the quality of sleep since they cause frequent awakenings and prevent the person undergoing them from having a deep and restorative sleep. For this reason, people with sleep apnea are likely to be tired, irritable, and suffer the short-term consequences of poor sleep quality. However, it is the long-term complications that are the most worrying….
The more we look at the consequences of sleep apnea, the more we discover that its long-term health effects are to be taken seriously. Frequent breathing breaks reduce the amount of oxygen absorbed by the body. For this reason, the heart must compensate by significantly increasing blood pressure. This hypertension is associated with increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition, the decreased quality of life caused by the condition over time is associated with an increased risk of suffering from depression. Finally, the drowsiness with which these people often have to deal would increase the risk of a road accident by 15 times.
Who is at risk?
While snoring and excessive fatigue are the condition’s most common signs, several symptoms may suggest the presence of this disorder. It is important to read them and consult a doctor if you are in doubt about your condition. Rapid and effective management of sleep apnea reduces the risk of complications and prevents a decrease in quality of life.
Certain physiognomic factors, health conditions and lifestyle habits are associated with an increased risk of suffering or developing the trouble. People who identify with the risk factors listed below should be extra vigilant about the signs, symptoms and risks associated with sleep apnea.
- People who are obese or overweight;
- People who consume alcohol, drugs;
- People who take tranquilizers and sleeping pills;
- People with a thick neck or who often have a blocked nose;
- People who know that the condition is present in their family (heredity);
- People with hypertension, heart failure or other cardiorespiratory conditions.
How is sleep apnea managed?
The management of sleep apnea requires the involvement of three health professionals. Our mobile team can help you benefit from a quick response to your condition. First, a doctor must provide a prescription for the test necessary to screen for sleep apnea: sleep polygraphy. Our home doctors are available to produce this prescription.
Thereafter, polygraphy is performed under the supervision of a respiratory therapist. This professional will come to your home to explain how the polygraph test is performed. He then retrieves the device and analyzes the data, before transmitting them to a pulmonologist, who may or may not diagnose sleep apnea. It is also the pulmonologist who plans the treatment modalities, which most often includes a CPAP machine, a kind of mask worn during sleep that keeps the airways open to prevent apnea. The respiratory therapist can then manage the administration of the treatment with the CPAP machine and follow-up.
Clinique GO™’s home care team can handle the production of the prescription, thanks to our home doctor. Our home respiratory therapists take care of the polygraphy and the management of the treatment and the CPAP machine in case of a positive diagnosis. Learn more about our in-home approach to sleep apnea management, and contact our team for any additional questions.