SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A new study shows many people are struggling with sleep on a regular basis. An estimated 22 million Americans are suffering from sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. However, many of those who are suffering are undiagnosed.
There are two options when diagnosing sleep apnea. A sleep study in the laboratory or a take-home test. KCAU 9 photojournalist Kenny Kroll took part in the MercyOne home sleep study after dealing with years of issues.
“I didn’t really realize, then I put two and two together that I have sleep apnea,’ said Kroll.
Kenny Kroll is 26. He is well aware of his snoring habits, and how sleep apnea runs in his family. Therefore, he decided to take the test to get an official diagnosis.
“The home sleep study is a relief for many patients because they realize they can take the unit home to sleep in the comfort of their own home,” said James Kase M.D. MercyOne Medical Director Sleep Laboratory.
The home kit has three separate monitors. One on your finger, nose, and chest, all working together to measure your breathing while you sleep.
“Putting on the machine was super easy, easy to remember. It wasn’t that uncomfortable going to sleep with it. My results show that several times a night I would stop breathing, you know, many times an hour,” said Kroll.
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can continue to disrupt your breathing which will have a long term effect on your health.
“The medical community continues to learn more and more about the serious consequences of untreated sleep apnea, high blood pressure, difficulty controlling diabetes, increased risk of industrial accidents, accidents while driving, in general, a very impaired quality of life,” said Kase.
It’s why Kenny is now taking steps to control his sleep apnea at night.
“Right now, I’m working on me, so I don’t have to use a machine but if I need to I will,” said Kroll.
He is making some lifestyle changes that can be a big help in his long term health.
“Hopefully, I can get it under control. Like I said, I am trying to eat better, exercise, lose some weight which is one of the big factors of it, but also it’s hereditary so maybe I just have to deal with it you don’t really think that you really need to change things until you know you have hard numbers,” said Kroll.
Options for those who are suffering from sleep apnea are positional therapy. By being positioned on your side, applying dental equipment to advance the jaw while you sleep, and the most proven effective device is a c-pap machine.