What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleeping disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you have been told that you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
There are types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the common form that occurs when your throat muscles relax. The muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), tonsils, sidewalls of the throat and the tongue. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. This causes a lowering of oxygen in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep to reopen your airway. The episode is so brief that you can’t remember doing this. Snorting, choking or gasping can also interrupt your deep and restful phases of sleep.
- Central sleep apnea, less common form of sleep apnea, occurs when your brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. You can awake several times to gasp for air and you may have difficulty to get back to sleep or stay asleep.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (treatment-emergent central sleep apnea) Occurs when you have both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
These symptoms can affect anyone, even children but be treated, controlled and in most cases cured. Sleep Apnea Center of Los Angeles has treated hundreds of patients, using most recent technology and education to correctly diagnose which type of sleep apnea you have. Once diagnosed, Sleep Apnea Center of Los Angeles creates a treatment plan customized to your needs.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud Snoring
- Episodes of ceased breathing during sleep (noticed by another person)
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Waking up with a headache
- Dry mouth
- Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty with attention while awake
WHAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO SLEEP APNEA?
- Excess weight. Obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing during sleep.
- Neck Circumference. Persons with a thicker neck may have narrowing airways.
- A narrowed airway. Tonsils, adenoids and narrow throats can enlarge or block you airway, particularly in children.
- Men are two to three times likely to have sleep apnea that women. Women can have a higher risk of sleep apnea if they are overweight and rises after menopause.
- Sleep apnea symptoms occurs significantly more often in seniors.
- Family history. Having family members with sleep apnea increases your risk as you age.
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. Medication and drugs may relax your throat and increase you obstructive sleep apnea.
- Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than those who do not smoke. Smoking can also increase the inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
- Nasal and sinus congestion. Allergies, colds and flu can obstruct and increase your risk of sleep apnea.
CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA
- Middle age and seniors have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea is more common in men than women.
- Heart disorders. Congestive Heart Failure increases your risk of Sleep Apnea.
- Medications and drugs. Opioid medications, especially long-acting ones increase (Methadone) the risk of Central Sleep Apnea.
- Strokes increase the risk of Central Sleep Apnea and or Treatment-emergent Central Sleep Apnea.
Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition that can include:
- Daytime fatigue. With constant interrupted sleep, Sleep Apnea can make it difficult to get normal sleep. Daytime sleepiness and irritability can make it difficult to concentrate on work and dangerous while driving and operating machinery. Children and adolescents with Sleep Apnea might perform poorly in school and behavioral problems contributing lack of sleep is a risk they face in dealing with everyday stress. Depression, mood swings and quick-temper is also a syndrome from lack of restful sleep.
- High Blood pressure and heart problems. Sudden drops of blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increases blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can increase your risk for hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnea may increase risk of recurrent heart attacks, stroke and abnormal heartbeats (atrial fibrillations). If you have heart disease, multiple episodes of low blood oxygen your risk for sudden death from irregular heartbeat.
- Type 2 diabetes. Having sleep apnea increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome. This disorder, which includes high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar and increased waist circumference is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
- Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea might be more likely to have complications after major surgery because they are prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs.
- Liver problems. People with sleep apnea have more risk of abnormal liver function tests and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring (non-alcohol fatty disease).
TREATMENT FOR SLEEP APNEA
Treatment for Sleep Apnea can range from modifications to your lifestyle, eating habits, use of an oral appliance; use of breathing assistance device at night or surgery for extreme cases. Sleep Apnea Center of Los Angeles creates a customized treatment. Every patient is different; diagnosis and treatment planning will be customized for their needs and physical condition.
- Self-care. Physical exercise and weight control is something of a life style change and can be managed by you and if needed, a lifestyle manager.
- Supportive care: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and airway management.
- Surgery: Tonsillectomy, Adenoid removal and Palatoplasty
- Specialists: Pulmonologist, Sleep medicine, Otolaryngologist, Primary Care provider, Respiratory Therapist
- Sleep Apnea Center of Los Angeles
Sleep Apnea Center of LA is modern medical center that is warm and inviting. Our staff is friendly, professional, and trained in the newest sleep apnea techniques. Your comfort is our priority.
Treatment rooms are comfortable and equipped with the newest technology to ensure you are getting the best diagnosis and treatment available. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or think you may have Sleep Apnea, Please call Sleep Apnea Center of Los Angeles so that we can get started in helping you get a good night’s sleep.