Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dog’s Refusal to Let Sleeping Human Lie Leads to Sleep Apnea Diagnosis


Michele Gilks and her family are probably thankful that canines don’t adhere to an equivalent of the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie.”

Michele was suffering from then-undiagnosed sleep apnea when she and her family adopted Bree, a 2-year-old Dachshund, in 2010. Soon after welcoming Bree into their home, Michele and her husband would periodically wake to find Bree licking Michele’s face and sticking her snout into Michele’s mouth.

Although both Michele and Bree experienced daytime drowsiness, the Gilks family attributed this sleep apnea symptom to Bree’s bizarre nighttime behavior. A veterinarian assured the family that Bree was otherwise in good health.

Bree’s antics peaked one night in September 2011, when the dog began frantically digging next to an unconscious Michele and standing on Michele’s chest. Michele finally awoke, gasping for air, as her husband called for an ambulance.

Michele was placed on oxygen and rushed to the emergency room due to high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially fatal condition in which an airway obstruction causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.

The Gilks family believes Bree detected changes in Michele’s breathing, sensed when Michele’s breathing stopped and attempted to wake Michele up, thus saving Michele’s life. For her dedication to her human companion, Bree was recently named to Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame in Canada.

Each year, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame honors animals for acts of heroism or bravery that save human lives. Since 1968, 155 animals—128 dogs, 26 cats and one horse—have been inducted.

And since Michele began sleep apnea treatment, both she and Bree are reportedly sleeping peacefully.

If you experience chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

posted by Steve at 1:17 PM