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What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder affecting roughly 3% (over 800,000) of Canadian adults 18 years and older. Meaning "no breathing", the word apnea refers to abnormal lapses in breathing that happen during sleep. Typically, a person with sleep apnea may stop breathing for 10-30 seconds at a time, at which point their brain kicks in and reacts to re-start the normal breathing process. However, in order for the brain to do this, a brief period of waking occurs each and every time the apnea must be overcome. This re-starting of the breathing process helps oxygen to return to the blood (since apnea reduces oxygen levels and puts blood into a temporarily hypoxic, or underoxygenated, state) and is usually not a memorable occurance to the sleeper, who typically is unaware of these nighttime episodes. Individuals with sleep apnea may experience this cycle of sleep, hypoxia, and waking many times throughout this night, and these sleep interruptions are what prevent the sleeper from getting a decent night's sleep.

A pattern of sleep apnea and sleep disturbance can have the following symptoms:

      • excessive daytime sleepiness
      • chronic fatigue
      • memory loss
      • poor concentration
      • clumsiness and being accident-prone
      • chronic dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
      • restlessness or insomnia
      • moodiness, irritability, and depression

In addition to these symptoms, sleep apnea is also associated with other chronic and serious health conditions, including:

      • high blood pressure (hypertension)
      • heart disease
      • irregular heart beat
      • cerebrovascular disease
      • heart failure
      • depression
      • Type 2 diabetes

Sleep Apnea Self Assessment

  1. Do I snore loudly?
  2. Do I often feel fatigued, sleepy, or "foggy" during the day?
  3. Has anyone ever observed me stop breathing in my sleep?
  4. Do I have high blood pressure?
  5. Do I have a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 35 kg/m? (calculate your BMI here)
  6. Am I over 50 years of age?

If you answered "yes" to 3 or more of the above questions, you are at a high likelihood of being diagnosed with or developing obstructive sleep apnea. Contact us today to set up your sleep assessment or to discuss treatment options.