National Sleep Awareness Week “ a wake-up call for those who may not be getting a good night's sleep
Feb 23, 2009 - When you turn your clocks ahead one hour on March 8th, turn your attention to how well you sleep. Do you have sleep apnea?
(Ottawa) “ When the clocks spring forward on March 8th, we can expect longer days, brighter evenings and the loss of an hour's sleep. For many, adjusting to the loss of sleep can be difficult. However, for the estimated one million Canadians who suffer from sleep apnea, and who may not know it, a sleepless night can lead to major health problems.
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing problem that interrupts your sleep, causing you to have short pauses in breathing throughout the night. These breathing pauses called apneas can last for 10 to 30 seconds or longer. People with sleep apnea can have dozens or hundreds of these apneas each night.
If you have sleep apnea you are up to seven times more likely to have a car crash. You are three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. You are also more likely to have hypertension, depression and diabetes, says Dr. John Fleetham, Chair of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) Sleep Disordered Breathing Committee and a respirologist with Vancouver Coastal Health's Lung Centre. The CTS is the medical society of The Lung Association.
Often people don't recognize the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. People may see a doctor because they are tired throughout the day, or are snoring and having pauses in their sleep, unaware that they could have sleep apnea. If you have any of these signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, talk to your health care provider who can provide a test to appropriately diagnose sleep apnea and recommend treatment.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the first choice of treatment for people with sleep apnea, but should not be mistaken as a cure. Alternative treatments such as lifestyle changes, which can include losing weight and the avoidance of alcohol or using specialized dental appliances, are also recommended.
Recognizing the impact that sleep apnea has on Canadians, in December 2008, The Lung Association passed a position statement in support of the funding of CPAP treatment under all provincial and federal health insurance plans for adults and children appropriately diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that is not easily recognizable and many Canadians are not aware that they may have it.
According to the Canadian Lung Association, the average patient waits seven years between the onset of symptoms to the time they are referred to a specialist for assessment. If you think you may have some of the symptoms, don't wait. Talk to your doctor about it concluded Dr. Fleetham
Read more about sleep apnea.
Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs and advocacy on lung health issues.
For additional information or an interview, please contact:
The Lung Association