Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Serious is Sleep Apnea?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:00 AM

My husband has a serious sleep problem. He has tried different over-the- counter and prescription medications/aids, and nothing helps. It is becoming dangerous, due to his sleepiness during driving to work. Is there anything that you can recommend?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Your husband is in great danger of complications when choosing to ignore treatment for severe sleep apnea. Usual treatment involves nocturnal CPAP, Continual Positive Airway Pressure, which is a method of resperitory ventilation. Occasionally more aggressive measures are used, as well as correction of any existing heart failure and other organ failure that may be present or incipient. With his daytime alertness affected to such a significant degree, he may indeed have more than just lack of sleep.

Untreated sleep apnea places the heart under tremendous stress, and is a common cause of sudden death and congestive heart failure with all its complicating multi-organ failure problems associated with this. I recommend he be considered for hospitalization and immediate intervention with sleep lab specialists and cardiology and pulmonary specialty consultation.

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Apnea is a serious conditoin and usual treatment involves nocturnal CPAP and occasionally more aggressive measures.
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:00 AM
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