What to do if I have sleep apnea?

This question was asked in Boulder Hill, Illinois on 10/03/2012.
I wake up constantly throughout the night, cough horribly, feel like no matter how much sleep I get, it's never enough, and constantly find myself falling asleep during the day. I've been told by other people for almost my entire life that I stop breathing when I sleep and it could kill me one day. I need help. I fall asleep ALL the time, I can't even sit on the couch and watch a movie with my daughter. I have to keep myself up and cleaning or working all day long so I don't accidentally fall asleep. Please help me!

Doctors Answers (6)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 10/10/2012

It certainly sounds as though you have sleep apnea. The most effective treatment is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). You first need a diagnostic sleep study and then, if you do have sleep disordered breathing, you will be advised to undergo a second sleep study to determine the CPAP pressure setting and the type of mask for which you would best be suited. You are correct, the effects of sleep apnea upon the cardiovascular system can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Plus, the daytime sleepiness is a hazard to yourself and others. Contact www.sleepdisorders.com to locate a board certified sleep specialist near you.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 10/5/2012

You need an evaluation by a sleep specialist or if that is not available then your primary MD could order an overnight sleep study in a lab and this can be interpreted to see if you have significant sleep disordered breathing.

Marjorie Yong, M.D.
Answered on: 10/4/2012

I am so sorry that you are suffering. What you have is sleep apnea, and it is completely treatable. You will need a overnight sleep study to see exactly what is happening to you while you are sleeping. Do not worry, what you have is completely treatable.

Anil Mattoo, MD
Answered on: 10/4/2012

You need to be scheduled for an overnight sleep study. Please get in touch with us using the contact information on our profile page.

Terry M. Himes, DO
Answered on: 10/4/2012

If you will go to our Website, and on the Home-Page fill out the "Complimentary Consult" evaluation questionnaire. Once we receive it, we will contact you and start the path of physical-diagnostic evaluations and needed therapy.

Faryl K. Hart, DDS
Answered on:

It sounds like you have a lot of the symptoms of sleep apnea. The Epworth scale is designed to evaluate your level of sleepiness/tiredness and with your symptoms you fall in the category of needing evaluation with a psg test. The psg or polysomnograpy is a test that is done in a facility that will monitor your sleep patterns and then you can determine what your options are for managing your sleep apnea. Remember if you do not treat sleep apnea you are at an increased risk of:

  • ·         90% chance of nocturnal angina (chest pains at nighttime)
  • ·         86% chance of a slow heart beat at nighttime
  • ·         76% chance of a coronary artery disease
  • ·         45% chance of congestive heart failure
  • ·         30% chance of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • ·         30% chance of high blood pressure