What Is Sleep Apnea?
When loud snoring is interrupted by episodes of obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Serious episodes last more than 10 seconds each and occur more than 5 times per hour. These episodes can reduce blood oxygen levels, causing the heart to pump harder.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Signs that you or your partner may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of stopping and starting breathing during sleep
- Excessive sleepiness
- Awakening due to shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Awakening with sore throat or dry mouth
Effects on Sleep
The immediate effect of sleep apnea is that the snorer must sleep lightly and can never reach fully restful sleep. As a result, he may be sleepy during the day, which can impair job performance and make him a hazardous driver or equipment operator. After many years with this disorder, elevated blood pressure and heart enlargement may occur.
When to Consult a Doctor
Snoring can be a sign of serious health problems. If you experience any of the symptoms, you should consult your primary physician or contact the board-certified ENT at The Snoring Center.
- Snoring that disturbs your sleep or others
- Pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Awakening with shortness of breath
- Excessive, uncontrollable daytime drowsiness
CPAP Treatment for Sleep Apnea
The most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. The CPAP machine is connected to a mask, which provides a constant flow of air into the mouth and nose, keeping airways open.
Alternatives to CPAP
Unfortunately, many patients find the CPAP machine uncomfortable and are unable to wear their mask. The Snoring Center offers a variety of minimally invasive, office based treatments for sleep apnea that can improve airflow and help you sleep better.