Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea and Snoring – Are you at Risk?

Editorial published in the North Shore News.

Finally there is a new treatment option readily available on the North Shore.

Have you snored for years? Does your breathing stop at night and your bed partner shakes you awake? Has your wife or husband moved to the guest room? Should they be worried? How does your breathing, or not breathing, at night effect your health? There are many studies now implicating Sleep Apnea in other health problems.

Sleep Apnea can contribute to high blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure is common and affects over 40% of people between the ages of 50-60 years of age. Approximately 50% of those with Sleep Apnea have high blood pressure. Patients who do not have high blood pressure when they develop sleep apnea will on average develop high blood pressure within 4 years of having untreated sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea can make you more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke and atrial fibrillation (a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat).

Type 2 Diabetes is a growing concern in our population and often is coincident with obesity however blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher among those with Sleep Apnea. Up to 80% of diabetics have Sleep Apnea. Weight gain raises your risk of developing sleep apnea and up to 2/3’s of people with Sleep Apnea are overweight but that also leaves 1/3 within normal weight. Weight gain is also a consequence of having sleep apnea and this vicious cycle can spiral patients into becoming more obese even when following medically supervised diet and exercise programs. With the 1/3 within normal weight it’s important to not assume all patients with Sleep Apnea are overweight.

Unexplained daytime fatigue is one of the most common reason patents are tested for sleep apnea. Daytime sleepiness puts you at a much higher rate of accidents both at work and on the road. People with sleep apnea are up to 5 times more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents. This option was not readily available until this year with Dr Sharnell Muir’s opening of her practice in Lynn Valley. “I am very excited to provide this highly effective treatment here on the North Shore,” says Dr. Muir. “The biggest challenge will be to get the word out that it is now available. Patients have been fearful of being forced into wearing a CPAP, even if they don’t have Severe Sleep Apnea, as that was all that was available for their physicians to offer them. “As one of only a handful of clinicians who practices solely in the field of Oral Appliance Therapy for Snoring and Sleep Apnea, I provide Level III Home Sleep Monitors to patients and have the results interpreted by a board-certified Sleep Physician. Then I provide all of this information to your family physician. I am able to provide effective treatment for Snoring and Sleep Apnea, with proper medical follow up and am constantly keeping your family physician informed. The systems and protocols I have developed exceed current guidelines and provide an exceptional quality of medical care helping out patients and their physicians”

Contact Dr Muir at “Sleep Better Live Better” in North Vancouver by booking on line using the online link on this website or by calling the office at 604-987-5337 for a complementary consultation.