Last week I discussed the risks of oral cancer and how we screen our patients for head and neck cancers. Another medical issue that has become a very important issue for my team and me is the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As I shared in a previous post I was personally diagnosed with OSA in the Fall of last year.
OSA is when the body is unable to obtain life giving oxygen due to a blockage of the soft tissues of the mouth, nose and throat. OSA creates a nightly routine of your body being starved for oxygen while having periods when you stop breathing for ten seconds or more. Many of you have had the misfortune of sleeping in the same room with someone that snores loudly and seems to stop breathing. While this is terribly inconvenient for you, the person that has these periods without oxygen may see that they develop high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux in addition to possible brain changes that may lead to dementia in late life. These links do a fantastic job of giving you more information concerning OSA.
As part of your exam during regular preventative care appointments expect to have Laura, Jelisa
and I discuss OSA when we see warning signs and risk factors. Our role in the diagnosis and treatment of OSA is to help you determine your risks and aid in get the testing and care you need from your medical doctor and the sleep specialist. One of the first steps in this process may be an overnight sleep study. We are fortunate to have a sleep program right here at Gouverneur Hospital. From personal experience I can share that the diagnosis and treatment of OSA greatly improved my life and the lives of those that love and care about me.