May 29, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Fighting Fatigue With Better Sleep:

By Maija Sanna, MD

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints I hear from my patients. “Now that I’m retired, I should have the energy to do more things, but I tire easily and need to take naps during the day,” says one patient, echoing the sentiments of others. Many of my patients wonder if fatigue is a normal part of aging or a symptom of a more sinister problem. 

The fact is, fatigue can occur for many reasons. Getting to the root cause of your fatigue involves discussing your symptoms and daily activities with your doctor. He or she will decide what tests you need to rule out common medical causes, including anemia, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies. Sometimes the cause can be found easily with routine blood work, while in other cases more specialized tests are needed.

One common cause for fatigue that cannot be found via blood work is sleep apnea, which comes in three types: 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – caused by throat muscles relaxing, leading to an airway blockage during sleep;

Central sleep apnea – occurs when the brain fails to send the signal to breathe during sleep; and

Complex sleep apnea – a combination of the above types.

All three can lead to a poor night’s sleep, leaving you feeling fatigued the next day, but OSA is the most common culprit.

In addition to fatigue, other OSA symptoms include loud snoring, headaches, difficulty concentrating, waking with shortness of breath or chest pain and mood changes. Often, your sleep partner may be the only one to hear the snoring or notice the brief periods when you stop breathing. They might describe this as snoring followed by pauses, and then gasping or choking sounds.

Frequently, people with obstructive sleep apnea are not even aware of these episodes. When they stop breathing, oxygen levels in their blood drop and trigger their brain to wake up enough to open up the airway and begin breathing normally. This process can happen repeatedly throughout the night and interfere with the ability to reach deep sleep. Most sufferers are unaware of these awakenings and will report having a full-night’s sleep, yet complain of feeling unrefreshed and fatigued throughout the day.

Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

being overweight;  increasing age;

a large neck or narrow airway;

chronic nasal congestion;

family history of sleep apnea;

smoking or alcohol use;

high blood pressure; and diabetes.

Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, but some people have it with none of these risk factors.

To diagnose sleep apnea, you need to undergo a sleep study. For that, you’ll sleep in a specialized center where your heart, lung, brain and muscle activity are monitored, as well as your oxygen level. If you meet criteria for sleep apnea after the first half of the night, they will have you wear a special mask, known as a “CPAP” for continuous positive airway pressure, while sleeping to help keep open your airway. These masks are the most common treatment for sleep apnea.

Other treatment options include using dental devices or, less frequently, surgery. Those diagnosed with sleep apnea are usually referred to sleep specialists who can help choose the best treatment option. While the mask may sound cumbersome, there are many different types of CPAP masks that can be tailored to ensure comfortable sleep.

While these treatment options are not perfect and many people get annoyed with wearing a mask or device every night, the importance of treating sleep apnea cannot be overstated.

Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to the following complications:

High blood pressure; Abnormal heart rhythms

Heart failure; Coronary artery disease; Stroke.

Chronic headaches; Depression or irritability

Memory problems

Accidents from falling asleep at the wheel

Lifestyle modifications also can help with sleep apnea. If you are overweight, losing pounds is a good start. Regular exercise is important, and if you smoke, quitting can reduce apnea episodes. Reducing alcohol intake also can help, especially avoiding alcohol for several hours before bedtime. Avoid using sedative medications. Treat any nasal congestion. Sleep on your side, as OSA can be worse when lying on your back.

For those suffering from fatigue, I encourage you to note any symptoms you experience and ask your sleep partner if he/she has noticed any snoring or pauses in your breathing during sleep. Bring your concerns and questions to your primary care doctor, who will initiate the medical workup and determine if you have risk factors or symptoms consistent with sleep apnea.

If your sleep partner is complaining about your snoring or sleeping in another room to get more rest, it’s time to get a full sleep evaluation – and more restful zzzzs!

Dr. Maija Sanna is a board-certified geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program in 

in News
Related Posts

Seller of Bel Air Mansion Furious After Property Flops at Auction

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

Mansion on Sarbonne Road in Bel Air fails to meet $50 million reserve price By Sam Catanzaro The seller of...

Environmental Review Begins for West Los Angeles Civic Center Redevelopment

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

The West LA Commons set to bring 926 units of housing and 36,569 square feet of retail to Santa Monica...

Is Santa Monica’s Most Expensive Property Still a Bargain?

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

22,640 square-foot property on market for $69 million By Dolores Quintana The most expensive property in Santa Monica has been...

Must-Watch ‘Disruptive’ Appliance Experience Store Opens in West Los Angeles, Hosts Grand Opening in June

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

Howard’s West Los Angeles Experience Center opening at 900 La Brea Boulevard  By Susan Payne West Los Angeles is home...

Marina Del Rey Family Searches for Missing 29-Year-Old Son With Autism

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

J​​eremy Hansbrough missigns cine May 16 By Sam Catanzaro A Marina del Rey family is searching for their 29-year-old son...

Santa Monica Pier to Feature High-Flying Waving American Flag on  Ferris Wheel During Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris wheel will feature a high-flying 130-feet tall, animated waving American flag throughout...

Message From Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Community Members, Sadly, we have learned of another horrific school shooting, this time in the...

Three Juveniles in Hosptial Following Overdose in Santa Monica

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Two females in critical but stable condition, third victim “alert and recovering” By Sam Catanzaro Three juveniles suffered an overdose...

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...