JEL INEK JOURNAL
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CAN SLEEPING KILL YOU OR YOUR MARRIAGE? Dr. Jelinek Shares a Colleague’s Story
When I read the following story from a colleague, I found many striking similarities between his patients and mine. People living with sleep disorders often don’t realize the effect their disorder is having on their life, especially when the disorder is undiagnosed. Because of this, I want to share this story with you. Most Americans don’t get enough sleep, and even those who do may not be getting the quality sleep they need. Snoring may seem like a minor annoyance, but studies show that up to 70 percent of people who snore have something more sinister going on. Kathy’s Story Kathy, whose name has been changed, made me close the door and asked my assistant to leave. I’ve known Kathy and her family for more than 25 years, and this was the first time I had seen her so concerned. With tears in her eyes, she told me she was worried about her marriage. Her husband, a great guy, had recently asked her to move out of their bedroom and into their daughter’s room, which was vacated when she left for college. Kathy’s snoring had been keeping him awake. Her husband, Jim, whose name has also been changed, was usually a sound sleeper, but as he got older and his prostate enlarged, he began making nightly trips to the bathroom. Upon returning, Kathy’s snoring prevented him from falling back to sleep. He was always tired and grouchy as a result. Kathy was concerned about what sleeping in another room would do to her marriage. I had written a blog about snoring and a possible solution, so she wanted to know if I could help her. Kathy did not exhibit the typical signs of someone with sleep apnea. She was thin, never tired, and the epitome of health. She’s an exercise and healthful food addict. Kathy did have one disability, and it was not of her own doing or genetics. Kathy had four of her side teeth removed as a child. In order to close up the space, the orthodontists pulled Kathy’s jaw back, causing her tongue to move back and become trapped in a smaller space. It was Kathy’s tongue trying to find room that caused her to snore.
I told Kathy I’d be happy to try and help, and after a thorough examination, we made Kathy a mandibular advancement appliance.
It worked like magic. Kathy came into the office unannounced one day with a gift. She was wearing a smile that extended from ear to ear, and she told me
that I saved her marriage. Her snoring had stopped, and she and her husband were now sleeping in the same bedroom.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a huge problem that is often left undiagnosed. This can lead to significant health implications, including the following conditions:
Weight gain or inability to lose weight
High blood pressure
Frequent nighttime urination
Sleep apnea can be detected in one of two ways: in a study done in a sleep lab or by utilizing at-home testing devices to be used at a patient’s home. There are pros and cons to both methods of testing. During the study, you will be classified into a category based on how often you actually stop breathing: mild, moderate, or severe.
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