Sleep Apnea: A Slumbering Danger
On the morning of September 29th, 2016, a New Jersey Transit train came careening into a Hoboken terminal. The out of control transit train smashed through a barrier and into a platform wall causing the roof to collapse on unsuspecting rush-hour commuters. One person was tragically killed. Over one hundred others were injured.
What is sleep apnea?
A silent killer.
According to the transit engineer’s lawyer, the engineer responsible for this transportation disaster suffered from an obstructive sleep disorder (obstructive sleep apnea) known as Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea, commonly diagnosed as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in most cases, is a chronic, disruptive condition in which the sufferer experiences many pauses and episodes of shallow breath while asleep. Pauses in breathing can last a few seconds to a few minutes and are typically followed by a loud snort or choking sound. The disruption of normal breathing results in poor quality sleep. As fatally demonstrated in the Hoboken transit accident, this can lead to disastrous results.
According to a white paper commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the potentially life-threatening disease afflicts nearly 30 million Americans accounting for 12 percent of the adult population. To put that number in perspective, there are more Americans with sleep apnea, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, than there are people in the entire state of Texas. And adults aren’t the only ones affected, with some estimates putting the percentage of children with the condition at around 3 percent. Unsurprisingly, the financial and human costs of treating this dangerous condition have been astronomical. In purely economic terms, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) cost Americans $12.4 billion in 2015 alone. That number skyrockets to nearly $150 billion when accounting for lost productivity, absenteeism, depression, motor vehicle accidents, and workplace accidents such as the Hoboken transit tragedy, as well as a host of health issues related to OSA. Considering that nearly 80 percent of all moderate to severe sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, OSA presents a major health challenge to the nation.
How to diagnose sleep apnea
It is very common for those afflicted with the condition to be made aware of their illness by family members. However, to accurately diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) it is recommended that patients see a doctor like Dr. Navid Senehi who will either make a diagnosis based on existing signs and symptoms, family history and further examination or get additional analysis from a sleep specialist at a sleep center.
At a sleep center, professionally monitored sleep studies can be administered to the patient to determine and diagnose sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. The test for diagnosing sleep apnea is called a polysomnogram (PSG). A PSG records various relevant biometrics including brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure just to name a few. The results are then reviewed by a sleep specialist who will make a diagnosis and help patients plan an appropriate treatment regimen should the diagnosis be positive.
Sleep apnea symptoms
10 Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Disruptive snoring
- Pauses in breathing while sleeping
- Waking up to a dry mouth or a sore throat
- Waking up with a headache
- Mood swings
- High Blood Pressure
- Nighttime sweating
How do you know if you have sleep apnea?
Take the right step and schedule a consultation with Dr. Navid Senehi. You can call our office at 818-805-0557 or click the Request Appointment button at the top or bottom of this page.