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Not so Silent Killer

Jane Koski is 41 and feels much older.  She's tired all the time and cannot remember the last time she had a good night's sleep.  For at least a year now, she's been almost afraid to go to sleep in case tonight is one of the nights when she'll dream that someone is putting a pillow over her head cutting off her breathing. She'll wake with a gasp, her heart pounding.  It will take ages to get back to sleep, then in the morning she'll be groggy and have a headache. 

She knows she has obstructive sleep apnea.  Her doctor diagnosed her as soon as he heard of her night-time choking and loud snoring.  He put her in the best respirator her HMO would approve and she hated it.  The mask was uncomfortable and made her feel claustrophobic.  And she could never seem to get it to fit properly, so the air kept leaking.

Her doctor has sent her to a dentist, who wants to put in a dental appliance that will bring her jaw forward, keeping her airways open.  She's checking to see if this will be covered by her insurance.

Her husband Fred tries to be sympathetic but is also frustrated.  Her snoring has driven him to a separate bedroom and their marital relations are all but a distant memory.  He keeps saying that if she'd only lose weight like her doctor told her, she'd be cured.  Well, even if she could lose weight -- and if it was that easy why are there so many obese people walking around?  -- she doesn't feel that would stop the problem.  Just about everyone on her father's side of the family has sleep disorders, and some are not overweight at all.  Two of her uncles had strokes in their fifties.  She wonders if she'll go the same way.

Jane is right to take her sleep disorder seriously.  We refer to her snoring type as Not So Silent Killer because it's now well documented that untreated sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, stroke and death.  Fortunately, modern medicine has made huge strides in treating this problem. 

 Check out some of the remedies for severe sleep apnea.

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