Sam Bauman: Signs you may have sleep apnea



The sleep disorder apnea can go unnoticed. Sleep apnea is often with us in bed. Here are signs of it digested from the AARP health newsletter.

Sleeping is not restful for people suffering from sleep apnea, but it poses health risks for some 18 million Americans. That’s the number that doctors believe are living with sleep apnea, many of them not diagnosed.

People with untreated sleep apnea are tired even after a full night’s rest.

Sleep apnea causes repeated breathing pauses throughout the night. The pauses, up to 100 or more times per hour, occur when your airway is blocked (often by the tongue) or too narrow for normal breathing.

While men are more likely to suffer sleep apnea, the rates for women increase after menopause when hormonal changes affect muscle tone, making the airway more likely to collapse during sleep.

In addition to disrupting your sleep, undiagnosed sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, memory problems and diabetes.

Here are signs you may have sleep apnea, from AARP:

1. Your partner complains of loud, chronic snoring. A spouse may be the first person to know something is wrong, according to Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Lung Disease at the National Institutes of Health told AARP.

2. You gasp for air. In sleep apnea, it’s common for pauses in breathing to be followed by gasping, choking or snorting. “When the oxygen in your blood falls during breathing pauses, it signals your brain to wake up very briefly and draw a breath,” says Clete Kushida, medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center.

3. You’re exhausted all day. Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. If you spend seven to nine hours in bed a night and still feel sleepy during the day, it could be a sign of apnea.

4. You have high blood pressure. Apnea is linked to hypertension. High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk for heart disease, AARP says.

5. You go to the toilet often during the night. Frequent nighttime urination, called nocturia, affects nearly 65 percent of adults between the ages of 55 and 84, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, that AARP reported on.

6. You wake with a headache. Sleep apnea sufferers often complain of morning headaches. Frequent pauses in breathing during the night decrease the oxygen levels in the brain, causing pain. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that headaches were more frequent and lasted longer as apnea became more severe.

7. You’re overweight or obese. Up to 67 percent of people diagnosed with sleep apnea are overweight (with a Body Mass Index over 25), AARP says.

8. You have insomnia. Insomnia and sleep apnea may go together. Research published in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that up to 60 percent of sleep apnea patients also have insomnia.

This story is from the AARP health Newsletter and has been edited for space.

“Atomic Blonde” is film close to title

The film “Atomic Blonde” currently playing, is a real change of pace for its star, Charlize Theron, too long absent from the screen. This is a movie that lives up to its title with Theron emerging victorious from many brawls with assorted bad guys. This is not the sweet-faced Theron of the past, here she’s a real brawler and proves it with many well-fought action scenes. Not that she emerges unhurt, she takes her lumps along with the bad guys.

Here she plays a super spy charged with demolishing a Berlin espionage cell in the later days of the Cold War.

The plot is a bit weak, but who cares with Theron brawling every couple of minutes. Art, hardly, but a real punch-fest. Buy a big bag of popcorn to lighten it all. Villains punched, Theron battered but triumphant. Can’t argue with that.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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