Have you ever been in the room with a person that snores? Not just any snore, but the kind of snore that rattles the walls? A common myth, Dr. Naveed Fazlani has found, is that snoring is a sign of sleep apnea. But Dr. Fazlani is quick to point out to his patients that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Conversely, he adds, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores.
The misconception stems from the fact that snoring is often the issue that brings a sleep apnea patient into the office for a sleep study, Dr. Naveed Fazlani states. In fact, bed partners are often the ones who uncover a patient’s sleep apnea, he has found, as patients often fall back to sleep so quickly after waking that they do not realize they have the sleep disorder. He explains that sleep apnea causes a patient to wake up multiple times throughout the night with an inability to breathe or a choking feeling. This may or may not be accompanied by snoring loud enough to be disruptive to a bed companion, Dr. Fazlani says.
In order to learn how to spot sleep apnea, Dr. Fazlani believes the first step is to understand what causes the condition. He explains that sleep apnea occurs when the individual’s airflow is obstructed by having a small upper airway. This causes the patient to wake up, catch his or her breath, then generally fall right back to sleep. According to Dr. Naveed Fazlani, because many sufferers fall asleep so quickly, they often have no idea they woke up numerous times during the night.
If a patient lives alone or cohabitants are heavy sleepers, sleep apnea may go undetected. This can be dangerous, Dr. Naveed Fazlani says, as the breathing obstruction causes long-term health impairments in addition to the daily dangers of loss of sleep. According to Dr. Fazlani, health risks can include heart problems, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of stroke. He explains this is thought to be because of the changes in heart rate and blood pressure that occur during sleep.
Feeling fatigued during the day could be an indication that you have sleep apnea, adds Dr. Naveed Fazlani, although fatigue can be traced back to a number of other issues, as well. Other symptoms he has seen include morning headaches, a feeling of dry mouth, sore throat, and awakening frequently during the night to urinate. If you are aware of waking up during the night feeling as though you are choking, Dr. Fazlani warns, this is definitely something to discuss with your physician.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a simple sleep study and treatable without surgery, Dr. Naveed Fazlani says. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, Dr. Fazlani emphasizes the importance of contacting your medical professional as soon as possible for an appointment.
Dr. Naveed Fazlani is a founding partner of Midwest Medical Group, a practice that currently does a half a million dollars in outpatient revenue. A Cincinnati resident, Dr. Fazlani was named 2004 Physician of the Year by Mercy Hospital in Mt. Airy. For more information, visit http://www.drnaveedfazlani.com