Obstructive Sleep Apnea is highly prevalent and costs the health system about $400 million annually. Watching out for the warning signs and confirming a diagnosis (or knowing you are in the clear) is the key to staying healthy.
We have made it our mission to increase awareness of sleep apnea and as members of the sleep apnea community, you are in the best position to look out for your family and friends.
Talking to a loved one about sleep apnea can be difficult but having the conversation could mean a better night’s sleep for everyone.
Having experienced the symptoms yourself, you would know what to look out for:
Approach the situation with empathy.
Hearing that you may have a sleep disorder can be distressing and they may react negatively or deny the symptoms. In this case it is best to keep a journal of their symptoms and talk to them about it after a week.
Instead of presenting the disorder as an annoyance, show them your support. You can bring up some of the following facts on OSA.
71% of adults aged 40-85 have mild OSA 36.1% of adults have moderate OSA Majority are undiagnosed and untreated Symptoms are often treated, while the underlying cause remains untreated.
E.g. daytime sleepiness can be overcome with caffeine, loud snoring can be overcome with small anti-snore devices.
Getting the right sleep apnea treatment is the most relevant long term solution that will combat the root of the problem. (not just mask symptoms).
If they are still in denial encourage them to see a video of themselves sleeping. Many OSA sufferers, toss and turn multiple times through the night and gasp for air without their knowledge. Watching themselves do this is disconcerting and will send them to a medical professional in no time.
Today a lot of decisions are made based on financial ability and the bottom line. It’s important to explain the consequences of not getting treatment. Left untreated, OSA may lead to other long term medical conditions. If they are diagnosed spend some time researching the different options for treatment discussed by their doctor.
If they are diagnosed and CPAP therapy has been chosen, encourage them to persevere with therapy. It is important for them to get the right device, therapy and comfort setting for themselves. The pace at which they see results will vary for different individuals. Some may see results in as little as days, others may take up to 4 weeks. To get an accurate idea on how well the therapy is working for them, most medical professionals suggest taking an average of at least 28 days.
Having that first conversation is difficult but maybe the first step is for them to screen themself?