What is Sleep Apnea?
The interruptions to a person’s breathing during sleep or sleep pauses are commonly caused by a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you may experience multiple episodes of breathing pauses lasting for more than 10 seconds at a time. You may experience anywhere from 30 to 300 sleep pauses a night. Sleep apnea can pose a serious threat to your health and well-being, therefore, it is important to get proper diagnosis and treatment from an experienced otolaryngologist.
Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Generally caused by airway blockage, OSA is the most common form of this condition.
- Central Sleep Apnea: CSA is caused when the respiratory control center, which is located in the brain, becomes unstable. The brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to carry out the required actions.
If you or a loved one has been experiencing the symptoms of Sleep Apnea, do not hesitate to call us at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT Doctor in Concord, Willoughby, or Madison.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obstruction or blockage in the air passage resulting from the narrowing of collapse of the upper airway. This results in pauses or breaks in breathing. As a result, the amount of oxygen reaching the blood and the brain is reduced and the patient wakes up.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea disrupts the natural sleep cycle of a person. It may force you to sleep lightly and keep your throat muscles tense to allow proper airflow to the lungs. This lack of deep sleep may significantly affect the quality of life. Following are some notable symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Restless sleep
- Difficulty sleeping
- Headaches on waking up
- Impaired memory and irritability
- Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Fatigue or drowsiness during the day
- Sleepiness at work or while driving
What are the Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea?
Your chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea increase if you are:
- A male
- Over 40 years old
- Have large tonsils or adenoids
- Have a large tongue or small jaw bone
- Have acid reflux or GERD
- Suffer from nasal obstruction caused by allergies, sinus infection or deviated septum
When Should I see a Doctor?
Obstructive sleep apnea does not only cause sleepless nights, if left untreated, it may increase your risks for heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. It is important that as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea, you consult an experienced otolaryngologist.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
An experienced sleep apnea doctor is going to use the following diagnostic measures to accurately diagnose the extent and cause of your sleep apnea:
- A physical exam of your nose, mouth and throat to look for any signs of obstructions or abnormalities
- A Polysomnogram or sleep study with the help of electronic transmitters to record your physical activities while you sleep may help your doctor better understand the extent of your problem
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Your doctor may advise you to make certain changes in your lifestyle or sleeping habits to treat mild cases of sleep apnea, such as:
- Staying away from alcohol and smoking tobacco
- Losing weight
- Trying out some new sleep positions to improve your breathing
If your sleep apnea is deemed serious by your doctor, he/she may prescribe following sleep apnea treatment options:
CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: This treatment option involves using a nasal or facial mask that is attached to a machine. The device provides a continuous flow of air to keep your airways open, to allow for unobstructed breathing.
Nasal Surgery: If your sleep apnea is caused by obstruction in the nasal passage such as by polyps or deviated septum, a nasal surgery may be required.
Sleep Apnea can negatively affect the quality of your life causing many social and medical problems. If you or a loved one has been experiencing the symptoms of Sleep Apnea, do not hesitate to call us at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT Doctor in Concord, Willoughby, or Madison.
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