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Bedtime Blues: Sleep apnea - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bedtime Blues: Sleep apnea

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Are you suffering from the bedtime blues?

 
Sleep apnea is one of the biggest barriers to a restful night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million people in America suffer from it. 

You've heard it before. Someone you know sawing logs while they rest. But did you know that heavy snoring can be a sign of a serious health issue?

Sleep apnea is caused by your airway actually closing off while you sleep. 

It can interrupt breathing, causing you to wake up multiple times in the night.

"Our tongue and our palate fall back and reduce the space we have to breathe. We don't get as much air flow and our body and heart react to that. We have spikes of adrenaline in relation to this situation. We have to wake ourselves up to breathe," said Dr. Nabil Moufarrej with The Sleep Clinic in Shreveport.

But even more disturbing, it can lead to high blood pressure, an irregular heart beat, diabetes, depression and traffic accidents.

Moufarrej said more of his patients come in with sleep apnea than with any other sleep disorder. 

"I think it's being recognized more. People are asking about it more. Cardiologists are asking about it more," said Moufarrej.

So what causes sleep apnea? It's a variety of factors. A recent rise in weight among children and adults is one of those.

"Weight is a big factor. It does increase with age. Our jaw structure has a lot to do with it. If we have an overbite, that pushes our tongue back," said Moufarrej.

Moufarrej said for some the answer to sleep apnea could be as simple as sleeping on your side instead of your back.
 
But for others a breathing machine called the CPAP can keep your airway open at night. 

"The treatment of CPAP is to open your airway. If your lungs are healthy, you can pull the oxygen you need from that air," said Moufarrej.

It's customizable and often covered by health insurance.
 
"Don't ignore the snore. It can kill you. It's not something to be thought is casual, funny or no big deal.

 

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