Every night, nearly 18 million Americans will experience
unhealthy breathing patterns, starting and stopping as they sleep through the
In fact, 80 percent of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea cases
will go undiagnosed, leading to a number of physical and emotional health
Among the most common health complications that sleep apnea
can cause are extreme stress, fatigue and depression. However, it may surprise
you that, when left untreated, evidence suggests that sleep apnea and heart disease are linked, leading to high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke and
other cardiovascular problems.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as interrupted or shallow breathing that can last between 10 and 20 seconds, occurring up to as many as hundreds of times a night. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, happening when the soft tissues in the back of a person’s throat relax and block the airway to cause loud snoring throughout the night.
What are Sleep Apnea Risk Factors?
Sleep apnea affects a range of people – both children and adults. However, if you fall into one or more of the following categories, your risk for obstructive sleep apnea may be higher:
- 65 years of age or older
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Aftrican-American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
- A smoker
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be hard to detect because most symptoms occur at night, when a person is fast asleep. Contact your doctor if you notice that you or your partner is demonstrating loud snoring, choking or gasping for breath during sleep. Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Morning headaches
- Memory and/or attention problems
- Frequent urination during nighttime
- Extreme daytime fatigue and sleepiness
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking up
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
Sleeping five hours or less each night significantly raises the risk of developing high blood pressure in adults. Getting enough sleep is important to your health, and might be helpful in warding off high blood pressure, which can lead to a number of other problems, including heart and kidney disease and stroke.
Sleep Apnea is a Matter of the Heart for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
In partnership with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines and The
Iowa Clinic, the West Lakes Sleep Center is deeply rooted in Central Iowa as the area’s first
state-of-the-art sleep center. If you think
you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or know of someone else who
might be, consider scheduling a sleep study to help
diagnose and treat your sleep disorder and avoid the harmful effects that a bad
night’s sleep can have on your health, including heart disease. For more information and to learn
if a sleep study is the right option for you, please contact us at (515) 875 –
I lie to my kids. Daily. Total honesty here, folks. Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Trying to get my preschooler to stop talking and go to sleep: “I’m just going to go check on your brother. I’ll be right back.” I don’t go back. She falls asleep patiently waiting for me to return and continue snuggling.
Convincing my toddler to finish his supper: “Only one more bite!” I use this line to get him to eat a lot more than one more bite. It is helpful that he can’t count well.
Responding to my kindergartener’s request to watch TV: “Maybe. I’ll think about it.” I don’t think about it. I have no intention of thinking about it. I’m banking on him getting distracted by something else and forgetting his request.
Before I had kids, I was like any other pre-child person: I knew everything about parenting and raising kids, and I was happy to bless frazzled parents with quality parenting advice. I shook my head at moms with screaming kids in the grocery store. I looked down my nose at parents with unruly children in church. I did a mental “tsk tsk” at dads feeding French fries to their toddlers for supper. Every questionable parenting choice I saw went on my list of “Things I Will Never Do When I’m A Parent.”
Then, I became a parent. I tried really hard to abide by my list. And I did a pretty good job…for a few weeks…or was it days? But I quickly realized that, for the sake of my sanity, I simply had to let some things go. With baby #2, even more “priorities” were dropped. By baby #3, I have become a totally different parent than I was with my firstborn. Sometimes, I fear I have lowered my standards. Mostly, I tell myself they haven’t been lowered; they’ve simply been changed. Not less, just different. And I’m okay with “different.”
During a recent conversation with a dear, longtime friend (who was pre-children at the time), I confessed that I lie to my kids on a regular basis. She was mortified. “Oh!” she exclaimed in an all-too-familiar knowing voice, “I will NEVER lie to my children!” I smiled. Just wait…
As a parent, you must decide who will provide health care for your child as he or she continues to grow. It’s a big decision, and choosing between all the types of providers, such as family practice doctors, nurse practitioners and pediatricians, can be confusing.
Pediatrics is the medical specialty fully focused on the physical, emotional and social health of children, from birth through adolescence (approximately 21-years-old).
The primary focus of pediatrics is on preventive health care, providing general services, such as routine physicals and check-ups, vaccines and immunizations and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. But, pediatricians are interested in more than just physical well-being. Pediatricians collaborate with families on early prevention, detection and management of other childhood issues, including:
Education & Training
- Anxiety disorders or depression
- Behavioral challenges
- Developmental difficulties
- Social stresses
Pediatricians complete four years of medical school, followed by three years of pediatric residency. To become board-certiﬁed, pediatricians must pass a written examination given by the American Board of Pediatrics. Pediatricians must recertify by taking examinations every seven years. In addition, pediatricians must also take a certain number of continuing medical education courses each year to be eligible for license renewal in the state where they practice.
Des Moines Pediatricians
Whether your child needs a primary care provider or a pediatric specialist, Blank Children’s Hospital provides care you can trust. Blank Children’s pediatric clinic in downtown Des Moines provides a full range of medical services, including well-baby checks and well-child exams, sports physicals, illnesses, immunizations and other medical needs for children. From the day your child’s born to the day you send him or her off to college, and all the days in between, we’ll be here.
Millions of toys are out there, and hundreds of new ones hit the stores each year. Toys are supposed to be fun and are an important part of any child's development. But each year, scores of kids are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. Choking is a particular risk for kids ages 3 or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths.
Manufacturers follow certain guidelines and label most new toys for specific age groups. But perhaps the most important thing a parent can do is to supervise play.
What to Look For
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) closely monitors and regulates toys. Any toys made in — or imported into — the United States after 1995 must comply with CPSC standards.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when toy-shopping:
- Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Stuffed toys should be washable.
- Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
- Art materials should say nontoxic.
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they've been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Steer clear of older toys, even hand-me-downs from friends and family. Those toys might have sentimental value and are certainly cost-effective, but they may not meet current safety standards and may be so worn from play that they can break and become hazardous.
And make sure a toy isn't too loud for your child. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn — even louder if a child holds it directly to the ears — and can contribute to hearing loss.
Rooney is almost 2, and a lot of people who have babies younger than Rooney (or who I was pregnant with at the same time) are announcing their second (or third) pregnancies all over my Facebook feed. It's exciting for them (of course!), but at the same time makes me wonder if we're not as cut out for this parenting thing since we're not in that mindset yet. We're still overwhelmed with one kid lots of times! Even my little brother is going to have two kids before I will (I had no chance with my sister, who had twins the first round)!
In addition, people are starting to ask me (in person and via blog comments) when we're "gonna have another one." We don't feel quite ready to try for Baby No. 2, but I think, just as we could have never been fully ready to have our first kid, that we will also never be fully ready to have our second.
Don't get me wrong. There are times when I think we can handle it. Times when I crave it, even. Wanting to be pregnant again and go through the wonder of it all and share the news and find out what sex it is and have people ask me how I'm feeling and pick out a name and try breastfeeding again (uffda) and have people go gaga over how cute my child is.
So we're just kind of stuck here in the middle. Trying to focus on Rooney and the joy she brings us while also making a smart decision on when to add to our family.
Thoughts on When to Have a Second Child
- When the first one is potty-trained. We haven't even started the process with Rooney...so don't hold your breath!
- When we have more money. I don't often think like this, but Eric does. He's so practical. We'd want to load up our flexible spending account with at least $4,000 for hospital bills again (making my take-home income lower), PLUS save that same amount to cover my income during leave. Yikes! I do have different insurance now, however, so maybe it would be cheaper on my current plan? (I'm also planning to get Aflac supplemental insurance again for short-term disability and hospital confinement.)
- When Rooney can help. Rooney has an incredible love for babies. It's adorable. I think she'd like to have a real-life baby doll -- I'm just hoping she feels the same way when we actually bring another baby into our home. She gets a little jealous now when she sees me holding another baby.
- When Rooney's day care rates go down. This will happen when she's 2 and again when she's 3.
- When we have a bigger house. We are currently in the process of finishing our basement, which will nearly double our living space. In addition to a separate playroom, we'll also gain a guest bedroom downstairs so our third bedroom upstairs can be converted into a nursery.
- Whenever you feel like it! I think I'm a little more ready to have another than Eric (I totally thought I was ready when she was 3 months old...ha!), but we're both sort of terrified of it, too.
Other questions I'm trying to answer are: Do we want our kids to have birthdays in the same month or should we try for a completely different time of year? I liked being pregnant during the cooler months, but Eric's birthday is three days after Rooney's, and it's kind of a crazy week/month for us. If I lived in China and could only have one child, would I be upset about that, or relieved? Should we just be a family of three? If we do have another, will our next pregnancy be our last?
Ideally, we think we'd like our kids to be three or three and a half years apart. But, we know from the first time that it's not something we can control. Just trying to relax and have faith that God's got it all figured out (because he totally does).
How did you decide when to have another child?