Your Healthy Family: Sleep Apnea - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a condition where the airway becomes blocked.
Left untreated, it affects overall quality of life and can even be deadly.
News 5 spoke with local patients who are finding relief. 
"My husband first was telling me that I was snoring a lot, and I would always tell him I don't snore," said Teresa Meade. 
"My wife has mentioned the snoring has always been a problem," said Jason Wulf. 
Like many folks diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it was these patient's spouses who were the first to notice something wasn't right. 
"He was telling me that he's exhausted because I'm keeping him up," said Meade. 
"And then two years ago it got to the point where I had to sleep in a separate room, and it wasn't good," said Wulf. 
Dr. Jared Waite with Aspen Ridge Sleep Solutions says some patients will feel symptoms, like fatigue or headaches, but others will be symptom free. 
"Kind of like having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you can have those things and not really know that you've got them. That's why we recommend sleep testing to find out if you have sleep apnea," said Dr. Waite. 
He says when people who have obstructive sleep apnea go to sleep, the tissues in the throat relax, blocking the airway. 
"It really is scary. When you're laying next to somebody and they stop breathing, it's very frightening," he said. 
But an oral appliance is just one of the ways to treat sleep apnea. It keeps that airway open.
"I'll wake up only once, instead of five times a night, I used to wake up so much and now I feel more rested than I have ever," said Meade. 
Patients wear it every night. They say it makes a huge difference during the day too. 
"You're so exhausted you can't think, you can't function. It's just horrible, life was horrible," said Meade. 
"Get tested. Have a sleep study done and find out because it's definitely worth something getting addressed, improvement in quality of life for me, it's made a huge difference for me," said Wulf. 
Another form of treatment is a C-PAP breathing machine which blows air and opens the airway through positive pressure.

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