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5
Sleep Apnea

Beyond Snoring

According to WebMD, other side effects of sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up in the morning with a headache or a dry or scratchy throat
  • Waking up repeatedly during the night
  • Restless sleep
  • Forgetfulness, mood changes and decreased sexual desire
  • Waking up choking or gasping for air
  • Sleepiness throughout the day

It's the type of scenario that's custom-made for a sitcom episode: A man lies soundly asleep while his frustrated partner is awake with a pillow over her head trying to block out the sound of his snores. In reality, loud snoring isn't funny at all; it's a symptom of sleep apnea. This disorder causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing throughout the night. And while it may not sound like the most intimidating of health conditions, it can increase your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. The death of NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White in 2004 highlighted the impact sleep apnea can have on cardiac health [source: Hiestand, Mihoces].

As a man, your chances of having sleep apnea are higher. Fortunately, there are other risk factors of the disorder that you can control. One of the main preventive measures for sleep apnea is weight loss. Being overweight greatly increases your odds of having the condition, so improving your diet and exercise regimen can go a long way toward reducing the number of logs you saw each night. Other preventive measures include avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, sleeping pills and sleeping on your back [source: WebMD].

Keep reading to learn about another preventable health condition -- one that can be a real pain.

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