Sleep Apnea and Snoring: Why Spouses Are So Important

"Sleep problems don't just affect the person sleeping" (1:40)
The first time David's wife witnessed a sleep apnea episode, she was afraid he'd stopped breathing for good.

Davids snoring was the first clue that tipped off his wife. Then she began to notice hed stop breathing in his sleep. “Shed wake up and give me a good punch,” says the 49-year-old information technology director. Eventually, his wife convinced him to see a doctor and undergo a sleep study. The diagnosis: obstructive sleep apnea.

Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most recommended treatment for sleep apnea, David is among a small percentage of patients who cant get used to the device. But he was well aware of the health risks of sleep apnea, and knew he couldnt ignore the problem.

David opted for surgery to shrink his soft palate and remove his uvula; this type of operation can sometimes widen the airway enough so that it doesnt become obstructed during sleep.

Surgery didnt cure Davids sleep apnea, however. A few months after his operation, he and his wife noticed that his snoring was back, and he was again showing signs of sleep deprivation. Now, hes pursuing other treatment options, and is determined to find one that works for him.

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