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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea affects an estimated 18% of adults in the US, but the majority of adults suffering from sleep apnea remain undiagnosed. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase an individual’s risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and automobile accidents. It is important to seek medical treatment if you snore or gasp during sleep or experience excessive daytime sleepiness and other symptoms of poor-quality sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing stops and restarts many times while you sleep, preventing your body from getting enough oxygen.

There are two main types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea that occurs when your upper airway becomes blocked while you sleep, interfering with airflow.

Central Sleep Apnea: This type is related to the function of your central nervous system. It occurs when the brain does not send the necessary signals to the body to breathe.

What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Symptoms of sleep apnea in adults can include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and not feeling rested
  • Loud snoring and “snorting awake” (though some sleep apnea sufferers do not snore)
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Falling asleep inappropriately, such as while working, talking on the phone, or even driving
  • History of automobile accidents
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Cardiovascular problems

What are the risk factors for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but factors that may increase your risk include:

  • Excess weight or obesity (body mass index, or BMI, >25)
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Being male
  • A large neck circumference (greater than 17″ in men, greater than 16″ in women)
  • Recessed chin
  • Physical abnormality in the nose, throat, or upper airway structure
  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Use of alcohol or sleeping pills

How is Sleep Apnea diagnosed?

Since sleep apnea is a condition that occurs while someone is sleeping it is often undiagnosed. For someone who thinks they may be suffering from sleep apnea a full medical history and physical examination are usually conducted, but the primary method of diagnosis is polysomnography (sleep study). Through a sleep study, our experienced physicians can diagnose your sleep disorder and provide a full treatment plan.

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