#SLEEPtember on The Morning Blend
ADVENT Founder and Sleep and Sinus Surgeon, Dr. Madan Kandula, went on The Morning Blend to talk about a sleep disorder millions of people have and don’t even know it.
[Molly] Welcome back to The Morning Blend. Well, we are over halfway through #SLEEPtember. This month is all about the ways the quality of your sleep can affect the quality of your life. Today sleep and sinus surgeon, Dr. Madan Kandula joins us to talk about a sleep disorder that millions of people have, and maybe don’t even know it. Hey doctor.
[Dr. Kandula] Hey, good morning.
[Molly] Good morning to you, it’s always great to see you. I think it’s great that we have a month dedicated to the quality of our sleep, because I think it’s something that a lot of people really struggle with.
[Dr. Kandula] They do, they do. And I think a lot of people don’t really know how much they’re struggling because they’re trying to go to sleep. So I think when most people think about sleep, and most people think about getting a good quality of sleep, I think your thoughts go to pillows and mattresses and comforters and things that are nice-to-haves. But I think most people don’t realize that the most fundamental thing that there is to sleep is your breathing, and specifically your airway. And so your nose and throat, we call those the breathing triangle, millions and millions of people have noses and throats that don’t work properly. And if your nose and/or throat doesn’t work properly, you can’t get a good night’s sleep. So for instance, if somebody’s throat doesn’t work properly, that can lead to snoring or sleep apnea, which is a big deal. And a lot of folks who have those issues also have nose issues. So again, it’s sort of this silent thing, because it’s happening when you’re sleeping. A lot of times it compromises people during the day. But then definitively at night, if you have these issues going on, you’re never gonna get a good night’s sleep.
[Molly] So we just showed this graphic. And I’d like you to explain it, if you would. It’s the breathing triangle. What are you showing with this graphic?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, it’s your airway. So you’ve got your two nostrils and then the back of your throat. So there’s three points of entry for you to breathe. And so if those areas are working properly, then you’ve got a good airway, and then you’ve got a fighting chance to have a good night’s sleep, that’s wonderful. If any one of those areas aren’t working properly, then you’re not gonna get a good night’s sleep, you have an improper airway, and it can really be a devastating sort of domino effect. If somebody doesn’t have a breathing triangle that’s working for them, it is by definition of working against them. And that’s a big problem.
[Molly] I think that illustration really helps us understand it. You mentioned sleep apnea. Is this a significant problem in America?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, it’s a huge, huge issue. And it’s massively undertreated. So about 80% of the folks who have sleep apnea aren’t getting treated right now. About 10% of Americans have sleep apnea. So that’s millions and millions, tens of millions of people who are suffering with this. And then unfortunately, the folks that go in to seek treatment, a lot of those folks aren’t sort of seeking treatment in places that can really help them. So it’s a massive issue that creates issue not only during the nighttime, when somebody is trying to sleep at night, but also during the day. And it can create a whole lot of issues for somebody.
[Molly] I’d love for you to explain what happens when someone has sleep apnea. Because one of the things people hear about is snoring, and storing can be a sign of sleep apnea, right?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, absolutely. So snoring is basically your body crying when you’re sleeping at night. Your airway is crying, and it’s saying I can’t breathe. And so when somebody is snoring, the back of the throat is vibrating and that’s creating that sound. When somebody has sleep apnea, that area shuts down completely. So if somebody is trying to take a breath in and their throat shuts down and it doesn’t let that happen. Now, the challenge is this is happening internally when somebody is asleep. And so a lot of times it’s sort of like a silent intruder, meaning something’s happening that’s massively devastating. If you flip it around and you said, you know, even one time during one night of your life, if somebody walked into your bedroom, snuck in, and strangled you, basically shut your airway down so you were suffocating and you didn’t know what was happening, what’s gonna happen is your body’s gonna wake up, you’re gonna go into a sweat, you’re gonna go into a panic, and you will never forget that night. The challenge is if that happens night after night, sometimes hundreds of times every single night, that that person that it’s happening to doesn’t know that that intruder is sneaking up on ’em. And in fact, it’s completely silent, which is scary. You know, I think in medicine we do a poor job of explaining the impact and severity of the conditions that we treat. This one is even more challenging ’cause people are asleep, they don’t know what’s happening. And so when you put it like that, if you’ve ever choked on something, if you’ve ever had difficulty breathing, ever, once in your life, you know how much of a panic that sets into you. And to have that happening throughout the night, every single night, it’s not okay, it’s not right. Something should be done about it. You know, I’m glad this month… And it’s one month during the year, there’s the other 11 that we should also pay attention to this. It’s time to put am end to this. It’s time to say enough is enough. And it’s time to really do something about it.
[Molly] Time to get treatment, for sure. You know, you talk about that interrupted sleep, that intruder, that sort of shuts off your airway sometimes hundreds of times a night. That’s why people are so tired sometimes. They think, oh, I slept all night, but really they’re being awakened so much that they’re not getting restful sleep. And there are actually some diseases that if you have this obstructed sleep, this sleep apnea, it can cause serious health consequences.
[Dr. Kandula] Absolutely yeah, it’s devastating in its own right. You never get a good night’s sleep. You’re always tired during the day. It increases risk of car accidents and things like that. So that’s horrible. To top that off, if you have sleep apnea that’s not getting treated properly, your risks of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, you know I can go on and on and on, because these are all the issues that are connected back to sleep apnea. Unfortunately, if somebody passes away from a heart attack that its underlying issue was sleep apnea, the sleep apnea doesn’t get put on the death certificate. That’s not what anybody talks about. They talk about, oh, it’s sad that so-and-so passed away early on. And at the end of the day, if they had sleep apnea their whole life, that was the thing that was causing it. And so the part of the problem with awareness is people don’t know to connect the dots all the way back to the beginning. And if you do… I don’t want a heart attack, you don’t want a heart attack. I don’t want any of these things going on. And if you could do something to help to prevent those things, you would do it. And if you could do something to help to allow a loved one to prevent these things, you would do it. And really, that’s why I’m here, is really trying to make the case that you should do something, now is the time.
[Molly] And what should we do? Real quickly Doctor, there are good treatment options, right?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, there really are. I mean, I think a lot of times people sort of don’t seek treatment because they have a foregone conclusion in their mind that it’s a one-stop-shop, like oh, you’re gonna go in, and you’re gonna get this thing and that’s it. If you have sleep apnea, that’s an airway issue. The good news is, if you go into a place that treats airway issues, like us, then we have a variety of options. So it’s not a one-stop-shop or one-size-fits-all. It’s a custom approach. And so there are a lot of office-based procedures that can be very effective for folks who have airway issues and sleep apnea issues. There are a combination of treatments that can be effective. So the first step is really getting an understanding about what’s going on, how it’s impacting you, and then designing a game plan that’s specific to you to really get you success, get you sleeping properly at night. I mean, the thing that drives me is that there are all these folks who are sitting on the sidelines of the life that they’re supposed to have. And then yet when folks come in and seek treatment, and we can get somebody where they need to be, all of a sudden, it’s sort of like this epiphany, this sort of, wow, I wish I would have done something sooner. And so it drives me to wanna say for all those folks out there, do something, get in, we can help, there are options. Many of them are remarkably simple.
[Molly] Yeah, you’re truly changing lives. Doctor, it was so great to have this education during #SLEEPtember, thank you so much.
[Dr. Kandula] Thank you, thanks for having me.
[Molly] Absolutely, it’s never been easier to get diagnosed and receive treatment because you can do so much virtually and via telemedicine right now. There are six ADVENT locations around Wisconsin, and one in the Chicago area. To make an appointment at any one of those offices and find the one closest to you, call this number today. It’s 771-6780. Don’t waste another night of weak sleep. You can also ask questions by emailing info@ADVENTknows.com/ADVENTknows.com.