RSV can be a dangerous virus causing children to struggle breathing and become dehydrated. Older adults can also be in danger of developing complications such as pneumonia. Getting help for RSV quickly can prevent needing more medical care.
Do you find yourself waking up at night gasping for air? Maybe your significant other tells you that your snoring annoys them. Do you feel excessively tired or sleepy during your day? These are signs of possible sleep apnea and can have health impacts beyond just affecting your quality of sleep.
Obstructive sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition where you have repeated episodes of upper airway collapse and obstruction during sleep associated with arousal from sleep and possibly oxygen desaturation. The airway obstruction can be partial or complete. Sleep is fragmented from these episodes, which can number 5- >30 per hour. It is actually considered normal to have a few of these mild apnea events every night. 5-14 apnea events per hour during sleep is considered mild, 15-30 is moderate and over 30 is severe.
OSA is prevalent but the studies are mixed on just what percentage of the population actually suffer from it. It is clear that more men than women have OSA as well as more elderly than young. Depending on what study you read anywhere from 20-40% of men and 10-23% of women have OSA. Some studies show more black men than white men have OSA while others show no difference at all. Chinese men do have a higher prevalence as well as possibly native Americans.
The most well known symptom of OSA is snoring. Other symptoms are: excessive daytime sleepiness, observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleeping, abrupt awakenings with gasping or choking, dry mouth or sore throat, mood changes like irritability or depression, high blood pressure, night time sweating, morning headaches and decreased libido.
The major risk factors for sleep apnea are being obese, male and older. Other factors are having craniofacial abnormalities, deviated septum, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, smoking and alcohol use. Taking medicines that can relax muscles such as valium or narcotics like vicodin can cause problems too.
Sleep apnea is also associated with a number of comorbid illnesses. If you are diagnosed with OSA then you are at higher risk of also having strokes, heart attacks, hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, depression and arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation. So far there has not been a clear causal relationship found between these illnesses and OSA. It makes sense though, that most people with OSA are overweight or obese and so people that are overweight are more likely to have those other conditions listed too.
How do you diagnose OSA? You start with a history and physical exam by your doctor. The Epworth sleepiness scale and the STOP-BANG questionnaires can be used to screen for OSA. IF your doctor decides after examining you that you qualify for testing then they may order either a polysomnography test or a home sleep apnea test. The home test is a good test and can easily make the diagnosis of OSA but it isn’t as good at defining the severity of the disease. The polysomnography test is the gold standard but requires the patient to go to a sleep lab for an overnight test. Obviously it is less hassle for the patient to just do a home test and to make things even easier now there is a company, Blackstone Medical Services that offers an online evaluation for people who think they may have sleep apnea.
How do you treat obstructive sleep apnea? Since so many of the patients with OSA are overweight the first line of treatment is weight-loss. The next line of therapy is a device used to keep positive pressure in your airway so it can’t collapse. There are several options available, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BIPAP). Most devices use a mask that covers your nose and mouth but there is also a nasal only option. These devices can feel awkward at first but once you get comfortable wearing them most patients report feeling much better. Research is still being done on whether these devices also improve outcomes on the comorbid conditions like strokes and heart attacks. As of now the results are mixed. Other things you can do for yourself is cut down on alcohol intake, exercise regularly and stop smoking. If you think you might suffer from OSA then go see your doctor about getting tested.
John Turner MD
My Emergency Room 24/7
My Urgent Care Clinic
You Might Also Enjoy...
The Adenovirus can cause diarrhea, conjunctivitis (pink eye), bronchitis and even urinary tract infections. The adenovirus can cause similar symptoms to the flu.
Flu B is making an early appearance this flu season which means we still need to keep an eye out for Flu A! Early intervention can positively affect the spread of the virus as well as shorten the duration of Symptoms. My Urgent Care in Boerne can help!
Cedar Fever treatment can help diagnosis and treat severe symptoms that may appear similar to flu symptoms. Allergy to Cedar pollen can be miserable creating sinus pressure, headache, ear pressure and feeling feverish.
My Urgent Care Clinic in Boerne can help patients know if they have the common cold or the flu. Flu in children and older patients can be dangerous and should be diagnosed. Flu is contagious the day before symptoms develop.
My Urgent Care clinic in Boerne can address pediatric concerns as well as those of the older population. My Urgent Care Clinic can address most conditions that bring people to the ER for a fraction of the cost. #geriatric urgent care, #pediatric,