Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 39

TRUE OR FALSE:

Only overweight people have sleep apnea.

FALSE. People of all sizes can have the sleep disorder. Obesity,
however, is the primary risk factor for sleep apnea in adults and children.
(For younger ones, medical conditions such as enlarged tonsils can play a
role, too.) Obesity contributes to airway collapse in two ways: fat in the
neck can lead to narrowing of the upper airway and smaller breaths
(larger breaths actually help keep the airway open). Other risk factors
include family history and a person's sex-men are more likely to develop
sleep apnea than women, though women's risk rises after age 50.

TRUE OR FALSE:

Sleep apnea can lead to other serious medical
conditions.

TRUE. People with sleep apnea are at increased risk of high blood
pressure, heart disease and stroke. Sleep apnea events trigger the body's
autonomic or stress systems, Rowley says, resulting in short-term
increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, these changes can
lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. In addition, decreases in
oxygen levels trigger inflammation, a factor in atherosclerosis, coronary
artery disease and stroke.

TRUE OR FALSE:

Changing sleep position will fix sleep apnea.

FALSE. In general, how a person sleeps rarely has an effect on
moderate to severe sleep apnea. In mild cases only, side sleeping can
be beneficial.

TRUE OR FALSE:

Sleep apnea is treated with medicine.

FALSE. Medications are generally not used to treat sleep apnea. The
most common and successful form of treatment is to use a continuous
positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, a masklike medical device that
provides a continuous flow of air to keep the airway open during sleep.
Some people use an oral appliance to keep the airway open; others may
benefit from surgery to remove excess tissue.

TRUE OR FALSE:

Lifestyle changes are helpful for someone with
sleep apnea.

TRUE. Weight loss is the most important recommendation made by
sleep specialists. They discourage the use of alcohol near bedtime, as it
relaxes the throat muscles (consumption should end at least four hours
before going to sleep). Specialists also suggest regular exercise because
it helps with weight loss and provides cardiovascular benefits. ■

IF YOU THINK
YOU HAVE
SLEEP APNEA,
DO THIS
If you suspect you have sleep apnea or your
bed partner has witnessed breathing interruptions while you sleep, visit your primary
care provider. He or she can provide a referral to a sleep specialist. Only a doctor can
order a sleep study, which is necessary to
diagnose sleep apnea.
For the study, you might have the choice
between visiting a sleep laboratory or testing at home. In the lab, you should expect to
spend 11 to 12 hours from evening check-in
to morning checkout. Hours of sleep in the
monitored setting will match up with your
routine bedtime. For a home test, you'll pick
up instructions and monitoring equipment
and, upon waking in the morning, return it
to the lab.
If the study confirms sleep apnea, you
might be fitted with a continuous positive
airway pressure (CPAP) mask. For the
CPAP mask to work, you must wear it every
night. You'll have follow-up appointments
with your sleep doctor to troubleshoot any
issues with the mask.
For those who cannot tolerate a mask,
doctors can prescribe other devices that
resemble a dental appliance. Surgery is a
treatment of last resort for those who don't
respond to CPAP therapy. The most common type of surgery makes corrections to
the soft palate and tongue.

WEBSITE

Get Help
The UVA Sleep Disorders Center can
help you get the sleep that's essential
to good health. Learn more at
uvahealth.com/getsleep.

SUMME R 2018

39


http://www.uvahealth.com/getsleep

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 2
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 3
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 4
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 5
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Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover3
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