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Are You Experiencing Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea (SA) is a medical condition caused by abnormal breathing patterns while sleeping, causing a shortage of oxygen and a lower quality of sleep. Sometimes, Sleep Apnea can lead to serious issues, because it can go unnoticed or ignored. If left untreated, SA can cause depression, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. SA can affect both children and adults, and it is known to be more common in men over the age of 40.

There are three types of Sleep Apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – physical obstruction of the airway that causes temporary lapses while breathing.

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – very shallow breathing caused by an issue with the brain’s ability to control muscles during respiration.

  • Mixed Sleep Apnea – combination of OSA and CSA.

All three types of Sleep Apnea share similar symptoms. The number one symptom is labored breathing or a person stops breathing for several seconds (or even up to 1 minute at a time) while sleeping. When you have sleep apnea, limited oxygen or decreased oxygen causes a number of issues such as:

  • Headaches

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Short attention span

  • Brain fog

Additional symptoms, connected to OSA can also occur:

  • Snoring – gasping or choking for air, or snorting, which can cause someone to wake up

  • Dry mouth or sore throat

  • Frequently getting up to go to the bathroom

What are the treatment options for Sleep Apnea?

If you believe you are experiencing Sleep Apnea, speak to your ENT. Your ENT can help you pinpoint the root cause(s). Without knowing the causes, it makes SA very hard to treat. One of the most common procedures that can be done is a Sleep Study, where your sleep and breathing patterns are analyzed.

Each individual situation is treated differently, addressing potential benefits and risks of treatments to make specific recommendations. These recommendations could include: reducing the use of sedatives, sleeping on your side, losing weight, or medications. Other treatment options for CSA or OSA could include using a BiPAP or CPAP machine, mouthpieces that hold your tongue or jaw in a certain position. If there are physical barriers, surgery may be a last resort.

Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, if you are having issues sleeping or are experiencing any of the symptoms above – call and schedule an appointment with us or your ENT.

Each individual situation is treated differently, addressing potential benefits and risks of treatments to make specific recommendations. These recommendations could include: reducing the use of sedatives, sleeping on your side, losing weight, or medications. Other treatment options for CSA or OSA could include using a BiPAP or CPAP machine, mouthpieces that hold your tongue or jaw in a certain position. If there are physical barriers, surgery may be a last resort.

Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, if you are having issues sleeping or are experiencing any of the symptoms above – call and schedule an appointment with us or your ENT.

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