Find Relief for Sleep Apnea
Are you drowsy during the day without any explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night?
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of 12 million Americans affected by sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
“Apnea” is the Greek word for “without breathing”. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while you’re sleeping. It can happen as many as 20-30 times per hour.
Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the lack of oxygen alerts your brain and temporarily makes you up so you can go back to breathing normally.
Since you’re awake for such a short time, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it, and many may even feel like they are getting a good night’s sleep when they aren’t. This constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle keeps you from sleeping deeply, and you’ll feel drowsy during the day.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Extreme drowsiness during the day
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Headaches when you wake up
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night
- Waking up at night short of breath
If you or a family member is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact us to find out how we can help.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three categories of sleep apnea. The most common, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), happens when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses and causes a physical blockage.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common and happens when the muscles involved in breathing don’t receive the correct signals from the brain. Some people suffer from mixed or complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Risks and Dangers Associated with Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is most common in men over age 40 but can happen to anyone. Risk factors like obesity, smoking, drinking, use of tranquilizers, and family history increase the chance of developing symptoms. Central sleep apnea usually affects people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes or brain tumors.
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Daytime drowsiness can cause issues at work or school and makes driving or operating machinery dangerous.
Additionally, sleep apnea can cause complications with medications, anesthesia, and make lying down after an operation risky. If you think you may have sleep apnea, let your doctor know before taking any medications or having an operation.
Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea.
Basic treatment can be behavioral — for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs.
Beyond that, Dr. Glass may give you a custom oral device to position your mouth to prevent throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.
Contact us for a referral to a sleep specialist who can perform a sleep study and determine the best course of treatment.