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  • The Sound Sleeper

Do I have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep.

This is caused by the upper airway relaxing and then narrowing or closing, partially or completely blocking airflow. When you have sleep apnea, your body is in a constant struggle between breathing and sleeping. Fortunately, breathing wins, but you’re losing out on sleep.

These pauses in breathing can occur a few times a night or, in severe cases, many times an hour. When sleep apnea goes untreated, your sleep is non-restorative and you also risk other harmful effects related to memory, concentration, aging, diabetes, heart disease, weight, blood pressure and metabolic disorders.

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
You may have no obvious signs of sleep apnea and still have the condition. Or, you may notice one or more of the following:

  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breathing, choking or gasping during sleep
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • A dry or sore throat or headache upon awakening
  • Irregular heart rhythms during sleep
  • Waking up frequently and/or having to urinate throughout the night
  • Feeling sleepy or falling asleep during your normal awake hours
  • Memory, learning and concentration problems
  • Mood swings, irritability and feeling depressed or anxious

Why is sleep apnea a problem?
Sleep apnea is not a condition that should be ignored as it can increase your risk for:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Abnormal rhythms of the heart such as atrial fibrillation
  • Stroke
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels
  • Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety
  • Motor vehicle accidents or safety incidents at work

How is sleep apnea treated?
SleepCharge almost always treats sleep apnea through Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy, the most effective treatment for sleep apnea. You’ll be equipped with a PAP device that keeps your airway open at night through the use of pressurized air. We’ll help you manage your treatment to make it comfortable and in tune with your lifestyle.

When you’re a SleepCharge patient, you’re in good hands for sleep apnea treatment. The ongoing support offered in the SleepCharge program is our “secret sauce,” and can help you start and stay on treatment.

What are the benefits of PAP treatment?
While adjusting to PAP therapy can take some effort, most people find the payoff worthwhile. You may notice:

  • Feeling happier and more patient
  • Improved alertness and feeling more energized during the day
  • Reduced risk for accidents
  • Better memory and problem-solving skills
  • Improved blood pressure control
  • Improved blood glucose control
  • A boost in sexual drive and function

How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?
If you are a SleepCharge participant, the process is simple: it starts with a Sleep Checkup™, a brief online questionnaire that provides a personalized report of your sleep including risk factors for sleep apnea. Go to your employer’s SleepCharge page to access the Checkup.

Sources: Sleep Foundation, SleepCharge Program Guide for Sleep Apnea 2021.

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