Amy Poehler (5 feet, 2 inches tall) and Shaquille O'Neal (7 feet, 1 inch tall) see eye to eye on one thing: Sleep apnea can ruin your life if you don't manage it correctly. Both use a CPAP device at night to maintain steady breathing and uninterrupted sleep. Amy says the therapy "helps you win at life," and Shaq reports that it helps him get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly - improving his energy and letting him manage his weight better.
What they may not know is that taking care of their sleep apnea also protects their brains. A study, slated to be presented virtually at the American Academy of Neurology's 73rd annual meeting this April, has found that over half of its 67 participants, average age 73, who had cognitive problems also had SA - often undiagnosed - and 60% of those folks scored worse on cognitive tests than participants without SA.
If your bed partner says that you have loud snoring or you stop breathing or gasp for air while sleeping, you wake up frequently, awaken with a dry mouth, have a morning headache or are fatigued, irritable and unfocused during the day, you should get checked for SA. Untreated, it can lead to cardiovascular disorders, stroke and heart failure, as well as memory problems. For more info, search for "sleep apnea" at ClevelandClinic.org. And go to sleepeducation.org/find-a-facility to locate a sleep clinic where you can go for evaluation.
P.S. A new study shows Shaq is right. Folks who manage their SA have more energy - and spontaneously do 20% more exercise - once it's controlled.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.