Primary care physicians are on the front lines of the War on Sleep Apnea. Unfortunately, nobody told them that they're on the front lines of the War on Sleep Apnea! Below is a typical list of tips for healthy living given to me by my primary care physician. Notice the glaring absence of anything Sleep-related:
1. Make sure appropriate screening tests and immunizations are up to date.
2. Complete an Advance Health Care Directive.
3. Exercise "aerobically," enough to raise your heart rate to about (220 - your age) x 70%. Your goal is at least 30 minutes every day.
4. Achieve and maintain normal body weight.
5. Eat foods low in saturated fat and trans fatty acids and high in calcium and fiber, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Take a calcium supplement, if necessary.
6. Practice safe sex, use condoms and a reliable method of contraception.
7. Do not smoke, and avoid inhaling others' cigarette smoke. If you need help quitting, please ask.
8. "Safety-proof" your home to prevent falls, poisoning, accidental use of firearms and fire.
9. Do not drive or allow others to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances. Use sport helmets appropriately, regardless of your age. Observe safety regulations for automobile airbags, seatbelts and car seats.
10. Seek help early for depression, mood changes, alcohol or drug abuse.
11. Perform regular skin self-examinations. Protect your skin from sun damage with sunblock and clothing.
12. Women should seek medical attention for breast changes.
13. Men should seek medical attention for testicular changes.
14. Find balance in your life between work, home and play time. Include stress reduction activities (fun!) every day.