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Are you a loud snorer? You could have sleep apnea

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You'll have a lot more energy throughout the day if you get a good night's sleep, but not everyone does due to a medical condition.

Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing stops and starts throughout the night and people with it are usually loud snorers and they often feel tired even after a full night's rest.

The Canadian Lung Association said about seven per cent of Canadians have it and even more may have symptoms of mild sleep apnea.

“I was just so tired all the time, falling asleep while I was talking on the phone,” Manish Amin said.

Amin tried lifestyle changes, but when those didn’t work, he talked to his doctor about a sleep study.

“An overnight sleep test can detect whether you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is when your breathing pauses during sleep because something blocks your airway, like your tongue or relaxed throat muscles,” Kevin Loria with Consumer Reports said.

Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness. It can also strain the heart, and increase the risk of anxiety, diabetes, hypertension and even stroke.

The primary treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure machine or CPAP. Users are fitted with a mask connected to a pump that pushes air into the airway, holding it open while sleeping.

CPAP can significantly reduce the number of breathing interruptions during the night, but patients often have complaints.

“It’s hard dealing with the CPAP, there’s the mask, the hose, there’s definitely some adjustment,” Amin said.

If the full-face mask isn’t for you, you might want to consider a nasal pillow or a nasal mask.

Another alternative are custom-made dental devices.

“They’re designed to move the jaw and shift the tongue toward the front of the mouth to keep the airway open. This can be used with CPAP,” Loria said.

In the United States, there are devices like Inspire that are surgically implanted in the upper chest, like a pacemaker. They stabilize your throat during sleep to prevent obstruction of the airway. With no hose or mask, it might seem more convenient.

Inspire told CTV News Toronto that it's not available in Canada. Amin says it's a step he wouldn't want to take.

“I'd rather learn to get comfortable with the CPAP than go through surgery. It’s important for me to get a handle on this,” Amin said.

It's important to realize that snoring and sleep issues can be serious, but a restful night could start after a good conversation with your doctor.

To reduce symptoms to get a better night's rest, it's advisable to skip alcohol and sleep on your side or stomach. Losing weight can also help because obesity is a primary factor for sleep apnea.

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