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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops involuntarily for a long period of time during sleep.

Apneic episodes or apnea is the period when breathing stops. In this condition, normal flow of air repeatedly stops throughout the night.

The reason behind the stop of air flow is because the airway space in the area of throat is too narrow.

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by snoring. If sleep apnea is kept untreated it may lead to serious health problems, such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Proper treatment and diagnosis are essential to prevent complications.

Symptoms for Sleep Apnea:

Episodes of decreased oxygen supply to the brain and other parts of the body are caused by sleep apnea. Patient with sleep apnea experience signs and symptoms like:

  • Headaches that are not easy to reduce
  • Feeling grumpy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Drowsiness
  • Worsening depression
  • Loss of interest in sexual activities

Daytime drowsiness caused by sleep apnea can be completely relived by treatment, this drowsiness might put people at risk for accidents.

Types of Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea is generally of three types, such as:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: The most common type, in which the airway has become blocked, narrowed or floppy
  • Central sleep apnea: This is the condition where the brain doesn’t signal the respiratory muscle to breathe, but there is no blockage of the airway.
  • Mixed sleep apnea: The combination of both of the above apnea.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea:

With a complete history and physical examination begins the diagnosis of sleep apnea. Our doctor will examine your neck and head to identify any physical factors which can be associated with your sleep apnea.

The doctor might advise you to perform the following tests:

  • Polysomnogram
  • EEG and EOM
  • EMG
  • EKG
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Arterial blood gas (ABG)

By preforming these following tests our doctor will get more information about the supply of oxygen, carbon dioxide and acid base balance of your blood. Your need for extra oxygen will also be understandable.

Making sure that the airflow isn’t obstructed during sleep is the goal for the treatment of sleep apnea.

Weight loss can give relief from the symptoms. In case of relieving snoring in mild sleep apnea nasal decongestants are more likely to be effective.

The first line treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This is a process which is administered through a facemask that’s worn at night, and it is highly effective.

Sometimes for the treatment of sleep apnea if CPAP is not effective, bilevel positive airway pressure machines are used. These machines have settings for high and low that respond to your breathing.

For some people sleeping on the back can make sleep apnea worse, positional therapy is used to give people the proper sleeping position.

You should always talk to our doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea.

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