PREFACE: I want to start by saying that the human species has a natural born drive for sex. Its in our developmental make up and our brain controls the reproductive hormones. Its a part of survival of our species. Interestingly, we are one of only a few species that have sex for enjoyment.
That being said, sexual dysfunction is real and can cause tension and stress in one's relationships and personal life.
Over the last 10+ years in the clinic I have had hundreds of discussions with my patients regarding concerns of their private anatomy and sexual function. From removing foreign bodies, concerns of sexually transmitted disease, discussing hard topics of lifelong sexually transmitted disease, injuries to private areas, and even being told my hands were too big to perform a routine prostate examination on one patient.
Yes, it gets personal.
This particular article is meant to be factual and in no way intended to be shameful to anyone for suffering from sexual dysfunction or disease.
By clicking here, I understand the intent of the article and wish to proceed.
But before you make your first move, let’s get a better understanding of what sleep apnea is and why it seems to be spreading like the plague.
Sleep apnea, generally, is a disease where your brain and breathing structures are not working together adequately to breathe and maintain oxygen during sleep. Currently, sleep apnea is categorized into three types: obstructive, central, and mixed. Like many other diseases, the exact mechanism of the disease development is not known but many diseases are thought to cause sleep apnea and to aggravate sleep apnea, including PTSD.
Other diseases associated with sleep apnea or are known to cause and aggravate sleep apnea include congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic lung disease, strokes, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, structural deformities of the upper or lower airway, and many more.1
The symptoms of sleep apnea are often put off by people as “I just didn’t sleep well” but overtime it becomes “I don’t sleep well.”
Some symptoms may include:
gasping during sleep
choking during sleep
snorting during sleep
stopping breathing while sleeping
Often, the spouse or a family member will tell the veteran that they stop breathing during sleep or complain and laugh at their snoring, gasping, choking, or snorting.
Does this sound like you?
To find out if you have sleep apnea, you need to have a sleep study.
A sleep study will tell your doctor how well your body is keeping up with breathing and maintaining oxygen during sleep. If the sleep apnea results are 5 or more, you have sleep apnea. (The Apnea-Hypoapnea Index, or AHI, is greater than or equal to five).
There are at home sleep studies and sleep studies performed in the lab. The sleep studies performed in the lab are more comprehensive and provide your doctor with more details about your sleep cycle and brain waves.
We’ve seen the disability raters at the VA be “picky” about the at home sleep studies. But if your doctor prescribes treatment for a sleep disorder, the disability raters need to get over it.
Treatment for the disease will depend on the type and severity of sleep apnea.
Treatment may include:
an oral appliance, such as a mandibular advancement device
respiratory appliances for positive airway pressure therapy (pictured below)
Surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids
Hypoglossal nerve stimulation 2 (rarely performed)
Updated March 12, 2020