You’ve likely heard of sleep apnea, but did you know it can be fatal?

The recently released coroner’s report on the death of beloved actress Carrie Fisher turned the spotlight on this common, extremely dangerous — but often overlooked — condition. Do not be one of the estimated 80% of sufferers whose sleep apnea is undiagnosed. If you live in or around Red Bank, NJ, call the office of Denise DiBona at 732-945-5343.

Dr. DiBona is trained and certified in sleep apnea treatment. If, through examination and a sleep study, she determines you do have sleep apnea, she will design a custom solution to get you sleeping soundly and safely through every night.

Sleep Apnea Is Serious!

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person literally stops breathing during sleep. Sufferers may experience hundreds of these pauses each night, severely compromising sleep quality and putting them at risk for serious medical complications.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form. This is caused by a physical blockage of the airway — typically the soft tissue from the back of the throat.

In Central Sleep Apnea, often associated with certain medical conditions and medications, the brain fails to tell the muscles to breath.

Sleep apnea is believed to afflict as many as 22 million Americans, the vast majority of whom are undiagnosed and untreated. This is especially alarming considering the following facts:

  • Sleep apnea is associated with a host of serious health issues and diseases including stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart failure.
  • The National Commission on Sleep Disorders says about 38,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular problems (high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke) related to sleep apnea.
  • People with sleep apnea are much more likely to be involved in car and heavy-machinery accidents, due to fatigue from nighttime sleeplessness.
  • While sleep apnea most commonly strikes middle-aged or older men, women and even children may have the condition.
  • And let’s not forget that long-suffering partner: snoring from sleep apnea disrupts the slumber of everyone in the room!

Am I at an Elevated Risk for Sleep Apnea?

While anyone, including children, can be diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are risk factors associated with the condition:

  • Men are more likely than women to have sleep apnea.
  • Obese people are four times more likely than normal-weight people to suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Some people have naturally narrow throats, which puts them at risk.
  • Children with sleep apnea may have enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
  • Alcohol and certain drugs can relax the muscles in your throat, contributing to sleep apnea.
  • A family history of the condition makes you more likely to suffer from it.
  • Smoking increases your likelihood of having sleep apnea, but the risk seems to drop upon quitting.
  • Sleep apnea risk goes up with age.

Sleep Apnea Disrupts Your Life

If any combination of the following symptoms sound a little too familiar, you should call Dr. DiBona immediately to schedule an examination.

  • Loud snoring (if you have a partner, ask him or her about this one)
  • Fatigue and tiredness throughout the day
  • Headaches upon waking up
  • Distracted or sleepy driving
  • Moodiness
  • Decreased libido
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings, possibly accompanied by a choking feeling
  • Sore or dry throat in the mornings
  • Difficulties with memory and concentration

How Will Dr. DiBona Treat My Sleep Apnea?

  • First, Dr. DiBona will likely have you come into her office for an examination and review your medical history and risk factors.
  • If warranted, she will order a sleep study. This involves wearing a small, non-invasive device at night to record your sleep patterns. The sleep study is usually done in the comfortable space of your own bedroom, but in certain circumstances may be more effectively conducted at a sleep lab.
  • When she receives the results of the sleep study, Dr. DiBona will interpret them and discuss what they mean for you.
  • If the study proves you do have sleep apnea, Dr. DiBona will create an individualized plan to get you sleeping restfully once again.
  • One treatment that has worked well for our patients is a custom device that fits in the mouth to keep the jaw positioned and airway opened during sleep. It keeps you breathing well, and is much easier to use and more comfortable than a CPAP device.

Good, uninterrupted sleep leads to improved quality of life and better overall health. Do you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea? Call Dr. Denise DiBona’s Red Bank, NJ office at 732-945-5343 to schedule an appointment for an exam. Or fill out our online form.