Sleep Apnea

female12.jpg

Sleep apnea is a common, serious disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly pause or become shallow during sleep. This can last for a few seconds or a few minutes, and can occur 30 times or more each hour. Usually, normal breathing begins again following a loud snort or choking noise.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. As your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll move out of deep sleep into light sleep. This makes the quality of your sleep poor, which causes you to feel fatigued throughout the day. This condition is the leading cause of daytime sleepiness.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. In some cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. Loud snorers often experience OSA.

Sleep apnea can cause a variety of problems, including:

  • Daytime fatigue – Repeated awakenings make normal sleep virtually impossible. If you have sleep apnea, you’ll be extremely drowsy and tired. You may find it hard to concentrate and fall asleep while working, driving or watching TV. You may also feel moody, depressed or irritable. Children and teens with sleep apnea often perform poorly in school and have behavior problems.

  • Heart Problems – Research indicates that OSA can put you at a higher risk for congestive heart failure and other vascular diseases.

  • High Blood Pressure – During sleep apnea, sudden drops in blood oxygen levels occur, which can increase blood pressure. In general, the more severe your sleep apnea, the greater your risk of high blood pressure. OSA increases the risk of high blood pressure, and can also increase the likelihood that you’ll experience a stroke regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure.

  • Complications with surgery – If you have sleep apnea, you are more likely to have complications after major surgery, because you’re more prone to breathing problems. Prior to surgery, please inform your doctor if you have sleep apnea.

  • Liver problems – Sleep apnea can cause abnormal liver function tests, and even cause scarring in the liver.

  • Sleep-deprived partners – The loud snoring associated with sleep apnea can disrupt your partner’s sleep.

If you have sleep apnea, you may also experience morning headaches, memory problems, a decreased interest in sex, or frequently urinate at night. Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive or have ADHD.

In partnership with your doctor, we can provide an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea.