Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

No Rest for the Weary

Shira Yehudit Djlilmand

“As the day went on, I’d feel drunk and dizzy. My head would go down on the desk and I’d be out. Then I started to fall asleep at the wheel. And in the middle of the night I’d wake up sweating, gasping, trying to breathe, and then fall back asleep. I thought I was just overtired from overwork. It wasn’t until my husband began to wake me up at night, scared, telling me ‘You’re not breathing!’ that I realized there was a real problem” – sleep apnea sufferer

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So what is sleep apnea? “Apnea” is a Greek word literally meaning “without breath” and that’s exactly what happens to a sufferer. The common scenario described by every sleep apnea sufferer (or their spouse) goes like this: heavy snoring, followed by sudden silence when the sufferer stops breathing, broken by a loud gasp as the sufferer tries to get some air, and then snoring again as the sufferer falls back to sleep.

An apnea is clinically defined as a “cessation of breath that lasts ten seconds or longer,” although in practice, apneas can last anything from just a few seconds to almost a minute. A sufferer can experience hundreds of apneas during one night’s sleep, which effectively means that the sufferer gets very little sleep, and the sleep he does get is not the deep sleep that the body needs.

Although sleep apnea is as common as diabetes, it isn’t well known. In the US, according to the National Institute of Health, over twelve million people suffer from sleep apnea, but an estimated ten million more remain undiagnosed. This means that millions of people are not receiving the treatment they need to battle sleep apnea, a serious disorder with potentially fatal consequences.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), by far the most common form, which occurs when the air passage in the back of the throat becomes blocked; central sleep apnea (CSA), when the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath; and mixed sleep apnea, a combination of the two. Whatever the type, sleep apnea is a disorder that has a major impact on the sufferer’s day-to-day life and can also cause a heart attack or stroke.

“The recent death of high-profile individuals from heart disease partly caused by untreated sleep apnea has drawn public attention to the condition,” said Edward Grandi, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), “but many medical professionals still really don’t have a good understanding. With research, that’s changing, but people should understand that the impact of sleep apnea on a person’s life can be significant.”


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"