Healthy Heart

Sleep Apnea Is a Heartbreaker

Listen to your sleep critics: They know more about your symptoms than you do

It is never easy to hear a close friend or partner's criticisms, but when a roommate or sleeping partner voices their concerns about snoring, listen up! They could be putting a stop to life-threatening breathing patterns that would remain undiagnosed without them. “It’s really hard to detect if you live alone, unless you go through a sleep study,” Dr. Arnett said. People who live with sleep apnea may be more fatigued during the day, she explained, and because of this exhaustion they fall prey to accidents or falling asleep when they shouldn’t. 

Dr. Arnett does not just care about sleep apnea from a medical standpoint, but a personal one as well. She had taken her mother, Lela Arnett, on a trip to Germany, and throughout the night, she heard her 73-year-old mother snoring loudly. The noise had gotten so loud that Dr. Arnett wound up catching forty winks on the linoleum floor of her bathroom with the door shut. Unbeknownst to her Lela, she had sleep apnea as well as severe hypertension. Lela knew that sometimes when she woke up she would gasp for air, but she did not realize how grim her situation was.