In that time, 142 patients died from sudden cardiac death. The most common predictors were an age of 60 or older, 20 or more apnea episodes per hour of sleep, and an oxygen saturation below 78 percent during sleep.
“When you snore, that means there is airway obstruction,” said Dr. Gonzalo Diaz, the medical director at the El Paso Sleep Center, the Sleep Disorder Center at Providence Memorial Hospital and at Del Sol Medical Center.
“Nobody should snore. If you snore, it’s definitely abnormal. Studies show if you snore, you have a higher chance to have high blood pressure and a higher chance to have a stroke.”
Sleep apnea creates several problems, including long interruptions of breathing during sleep, frequent waking from sleep (even though you may not realize it) and light sleeping.
People with obstructive sleep apnea sleep lightly to try to keep their throat muscles tense enough to maintain airflow. That can strain the heart.
“When males snore, they obstruct the airway, and when they obstruct the airway, you can stop breathing for a few seconds and your oxygen drops,” Diaz said. “When this happens, the brain senses that you are not breathing and wakes you up.”
When the brain wakes a person up, it releases stress hormones.
“Those hormones don’t allow you to fall asleep,” Diaz said. “Those high levels of hormones increase your high blood pressure and increase your cholesterol and your risk for heart attack or strokes.”
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Sleep studies at Sierra Providence Sleep Disorders Center take place at night in private rooms where the brain waves, eye movement, heart rate, oxygen level and breathing patterns are monitored and recorded.
“If you’ve tried to treat your hypertension and can’t get your blood pressure down, we need to do a sleep study,” said Joseph Arteage, the clinical coordinator at the sleep center. “If your neck is over 17 inches, you need a sleep study. If you just got diagnosed with diabetes, you need a sleep study.”
“People who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are often fitted for a CPAP — a continuous positive airway pressure mask. The mask uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open during sleep. However, CPAP machines are bulky and many patients don’t like wearing them because they feel like Hannibal Lecter.”
“I’m probably not really supposed to do this…but I’ll give you the inside secret on a new device that was just released in 2017 that’s more effective than a CPAP machine or any other snoring solution I’ve ever known about until now. It looks and feels like a pacifier so stay with me…