How familiar are you with sleep apnea symptoms?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical condition. While I think many people are aware that sleep apnea is a health condition, I think few appreciate just how serious it is.
When you hear about dentists who practice sleep dentistry talk about sleep apnea in life or death terms, describing their practice as “saving lives”, you begin to get a much better grasp of just how important it is to treat sleep apnea. This applies to any sleep disordered breathing condition, not just obstructive sleep apnea.
I was in Rome in early September to attend the AAMS (Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences) Congress. Besides taking in a number of excellent speakers and interesting lectures, I also attended a full day workshop by Patrick McKeown, and Dr. James Metz, DDS.
Patrick is a well-known Buteyko Breathing instructor and the author of The Oxygen Advantage, a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to improve their athletic performance and breathing.
Dr. Metz runs The METZ Center for Sleep Apnea. His focus is on providing alternatives to CPAP treatment for sleep apnea patients.
The workshop was split into two parts, with Patrick taking us through his breathing reeducation protocols for practitioners, while Dr. Metz covered sleep apnea in detail. Both parts were fascinating but I’d like to share some of Dr. Metz’s presentation in this article, specifically the information on sleep apnea symptoms and the overall dangers of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Dr. Metz looked at sleep apnea symptoms in detail. Most of us know that sleep apnea can cause chronic sleepiness and tiredness but did you know that sleep apnea is also linked to:
High blood pressure
Jaw pain, facial pain and associated tension
Sleep Apnea And Car Accidents
Sleep apnea has also been linked to a much higher chance of being in a car accident. In fact, a recent study that was published in the journal Sleep found that people who suffer from sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be involved in an accident when they were driving compared to people without this sleep disorder. That’s disturbing, especially when you consider that other family members and other road users are placed at risk.
Sleep Apnea, Snoring, And Sharing A Bed
Another thing that Dr. Metz pointed out was that sleep apnea doesn’t just affect the sufferer. People who sleep next to a snorer can also experience symptoms including:
Aches and pains
Chronic fatigue and sleepiness
Problems with memory
Strokes And Sleep Apnea
An alarming statistic is that 68% of stroke patients were found to also have sleep disordered breathing. Dr. Metz also stated that moderate to severe sleep apnea triples the risk of strokes in men.
In short, it became very clear over the course of the lecture that the worse your sleep apnea is, the higher your risk of death becomes. So it’s vital that anyone who suspects they have sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing sees a sleep doctor to get a diagnosis one way or another. This isn’t a condition that can be ignored without consequences.