HEART HEALTH: Breen's sleep apnea test results - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HEART HEALTH: Breen's sleep apnea test results

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"Sleep apnea" is a disorder that can not only cost you a good night's sleep, it can also cost you your health.

A "sleep study" could help doctors diagnose a problem that could have an impact on your heart. So, KTIV's Matt Breen spent a night in Mercy's Sleep Lab.

Hooked up to electrodes to monitor Matt's brain waves, and his breathing, he laid down for a good night's sleep. That's what Matt thought he got, until he looked at the video. There was snoring... and tossing... and turning. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "The interesting thing about this study is for a normal, healthy, athletic person that you are, there were still some apnea episodes that were recorded."

Dr. Ramin Artang, with Mercy Cardiology, reviewed the results with me the next day. And, they were surprising! Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Total number of 26 times that you did not breathe normally during that 400 minutes."

Matt didn't ever stop breathing over his 7-hours of sleep. But, his breathing did became more shallow. There are two ways to classify the 26 'episodes.' Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "14 of them were 'central apnea'. That means more from the brain signaling that you don't need to breathe that fast, or that often."

Though these 'central apneas' did disrupt his sleep, they aren't as significant as 'obstructive apneas'. Matt had those, too. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "12 of them were 'obstructive sleep apnea'. So, some of them were related to obstruction in your airways."

But, what puzzles Dr. Artang is that Matt's oxygen levels didn't drop as low as they would in a patient with classic 'obstructive sleep apnea'. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Your minimum oxygen level was about 86%. And, the maximum level was about 98%, which is fine. 86% is not perfect, but it is not that bad. This is not classic for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea people, who drop down into the 60s, 50s or further down. They are truly hypoxic, they have really low oxygen levels, which you do not have."

But, Dr. Artang did leave Matt with a warning. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "This is not a classic obstructive sleep apnea person, but it could be that you have tendencies to develop that if you gain 20-30 pounds more weight, or if you change your lifestyle, or if you started smoking."

Before you go to bed tonight, ask yourself these questions: Are you tired throughout the day? Do you fall asleep while doing routine tasks during the day? Do you fall asleep while driving? If you answered "yes" to more than one of these questions, you might want to talk to your doctor because you might have a sleep disorder.

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