Sleep apnea commonly misdiagnosed, can lead to health problems

MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Sleep apnea is more common than you think and is often under-diagnosed. It’s important to know the warning signs because insufficient sleep is linked to a number of chronic conditions, among them diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

Do you snore loudly? Gasp for breath during sleep? Been told that you actually stop breathing when sleeping? You may have sleep apnea where your breathing passage is blocked.

Deanna Barsczewski is getting treated for sleep apnea.

“I was feeling really exhausted, tired all the time, restless at night, tossing and turning a lot,” said Barsczewski.

A sleep study at LDC Sleep Management Center led to C-PAP therapy.

“It allows air flow at a higher pressure to go in and that airflow will keep the breathing passage open,” said Dr. JD Sidana.

Dr. JD Sidana specializes in sleep medicine. He warns with no air flow going through, the body drops its oxygen level which over time has an even bigger health impact.

“This is a health problem,” said Sidana. “An increased risk of heart disease, an increased risk of stroke. Studies have shown is that people will have an early progression to dementia.”

There are also common misconceptions.

“Most commonly, people who have sleep apnea are the people who are overweight. It is exceedingly more common now to see people who are normal for their body weight and a lot of that has to do with the architecture around the throat and mouth,” said Sidana.

Disruptive sleep is not as big of an issue now for Deanna.

“I have a little bit more energy, also trying to work more exercise to my day,” said Barsczewski.

But getting the sleep she wants is still challenging.

“I’m still working toward a full solid night sleep. But I’m definitely on my way there,” said Barsczewski.

Dr. Sidana says disruptive sleep can lead to a significant amount of irritability in children, as well as delays in learning and behavioral disorders.

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