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Sleep Apnea

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Daniel Mazler suffers from sleep apnea.

"You are frustrated, very tired, headaches, sleepy throughout the day."

Up to 18 million Americans have the dangerous disorder which obstructs a person's airway.. causing them to stop breathing repeatedly during the night.

Now new guidelines from the American College of Physicians say a formal sleep study is the best way to diagnose the problem.

In the sleep lab, doctors use a test called a polysomnogram to closely monitor patients and determine what type of sleep apnea a patient has and what treatment might be best. If lab testing is not an option, the guidelines recommend home based portable monitors for patients who don't have chronic health conditions.

"It's a good test it is not as accurate as the polysomnogram," says Dr. David Volpi.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life threatening cardiovascular problems. Breathing masks that use pressurized air to keep the airway open are the standard treatment.

Daniel's sleep apnea is severe.

"I lose a lot of oxygen through the night. My sleep is very fragmented."

The mask didn't work for him, now surgery is his next step.

Doctors say they are seeing a rise in sleep apnea as they see a rise in obesity rates.
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