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I want to share something I learned recently that has not only changed my life, but also has saved my life…I have sleep apnea. It may have simply sounded like snoring to the people who love me; however, each unconscious snore was my body’s way of screaming for help and sadly, bringing me way too close to death. Thank God I found a man by the name of Dr. Greenburg. Doctor G is a leading snoring and sleep apnea expert that showed me how simple it was to get tested, treated, and back to myself. He invented the ZYPPAH, saved my life and together we have launched a campaign to raise awareness about a not so silent killer that is destroying people we love…maybe even you.
Let me start with a few basic thoughts; did you know that 80% of all cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed? And that untreated, sleep apnea can lead to death? Not to sound any false alarms, but a problem such as this, that many people consider to be a mild to moderate nuisance (unless, of course you sleep with a snorer!), can be a problem that threatens your life on several levels. While total number of deaths due to sleep apnea thought to be related to it are hard to come by, research cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to:
- Cancer, an increase in risk more than 4 times
- Increased risk of stroke
- High Blood Pressure
- Higher rate of death due to heart disease
- Heart Attacks
- Diabetes due to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance
- Impaired concentration
- Falling asleep at work or behind the wheel of your car
- Mood changes
- Gastric Reflux (GERD)
- Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident
- Weight gain and the inability to lose weight
This is no joke; the situation is critical.
With potential health complications such as increased risk of stroke and higher rate of death due to heart disease, my team and I thought it would be important to give more information on this widely misunderstood medical condition.
So what exactly is sleep apnea?
Many of us have heard the term, used it in passing, but may not fully understand what sleep apnea actually means. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines sleep apnea as a “sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe…It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.”
In simple terms, your throat is like the fuel line to your car. If the fuel line to your car closes partially or completely, how well does your car run if at all? Well, Snoring is a partial blockage of your body’s fuel line while sleep apnea is a complete blockage.
In other words, as your body rests and you attempt to sleep, something is blocking your airway. That something in most cases is your tongue but could also be a buildup of fatty tissue, excess weight or other problems. Whatever the reason, this blockage causes you, the sleeper, to stop breathing up to 10-30 seconds at a time, and in some cases for 1 minute or longer.
Take the case of former Argos coach Joe Hay who died in his sleep, ostensibly from sleep apnea. Joe Hay was a California varsity football head coach who wore a CPAP machine and mask nightly to deal with his sleep apnea problem (CPAP machines are one of the most common treatment options for the treatment of Sleep Apnea). Joe was a 41-year-old man, in apparently otherwise perfect health that had no other ongoing health issues. Normally he wore the CPAP machine to sleep, but did not wear it on the night in question. The next morning, Joe’s wife, said she found her husband in the bed not breathing. He did not wake up. It is obvious why cases like this make professionals very concerned about public awareness of this issue, its growing trend and the need for better treatment options such as Hybrid oral appliances like mine that are more comfortable and have a higher compliance rate than the CPAP machines.
We know that with today’s busy lifestyle it is very easy to forgo needed rest in order to achieve, go and do. It is important though, to remember balance and listen to your body. I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
If you or a loved one suffers from significant snoring or sleep apnea, Call Dr. Greenburg or go to your local sleep apnea professional to be diagnosed. My life, weight, heart, and voice have been saved sue to a simple test and Dr. G’s oral appliance that I now religiously sleep with. My life has changed and yours needs to if anything I’ve shared sounds familiar.