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Sleep apnea support group to meet

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By The Staff

Sleep apnea is common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than 12 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Risk factors include being male, overweight and older than 40, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches.

Untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues.

A.W.A.K.E. of Central Kentucky will have a meeting at the Taylor County Extension Office on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. 

Dr. Asser El-Atfy, pulmonologist and TRH Sleep Disorders Center medical director, will be the featured speaker. Refreshments will be provided by ResMed. 

A.W.A.K.E. is an acronym for "Alert, Well and Keeping Energetic." The A.W.A.K.E. of Central Kentucky group was formed in 2005 by Registered Respiratory Therapist Angela Jaggers, who has worked closely with patients who suffer from sleep apnea throughout her career as a home care therapist. 

Meetings are free and intended to be a source of general information for persons interested in learning more about sleep disorders. 

The American Sleep Apnea Association is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about sleep apnea and to serving people with this common disorder. 

The A.W.A.K.E. network plays a crucial role in the ASAA's educational and advocacy efforts. The ASAA A.W.A.K.E. network was founded as a mutual-help support group for persons affected by sleep apnea and now has hundreds of groups in nearly all 50 states.

More information can be found at www.sleepapnea.org or by calling Jaggers at (270) 299-6245.