What is sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea

The medical term “apnea” translates to temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep. Disordered breathing while sleeping with multiple periods of pauses in breath is called sleep apnea and is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. While common, it is something that needs to be diagnosed and treated in order to avoid further health conditions and complications. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea not only include the aforementioned nighttime interruptions, but also daytime sleepiness, irritability, and headaches. While we all have bad nights of rest, sleep apnea is a diagnosis that needs to be addressed and is often undiagnosed. The Breathe Clear Institute can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, from your home by a virtual appointment or by having you come into the office and meet with one of our specialized staff members..

Types of sleep apnea

While sleep apnea symptoms are often similar, there are three types: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and mixed sleep apnea. The Breathe Clear Institute treats all three types of sleep apnea. 

If you’re experiencing temporary lapses of breath while sleeping, you likely have OSA which means your airway at the back of your throat becomes physically blocked. If you are experiencing slower and shallower breath while sleeping, you likely have CSA due to a problem in the part of the brain that controls respiration muscle activity. Then, there’s a diagnosis of both OSA and CSA often called mixed or complex sleep apnea with symptoms and causation from both.

Treating sleep apnea 

While sleep apnea patients tend to be overweight men over 40 years old, but occurs with women and children as well. No matter who the patient is, we first recommended making some pivotal lifestyle and behavior changes that may reduce your symptoms and increase good sleep. Sleeping on your side and losing weight can both help better breath while sleeping. If those changes don’t work, there are three main treatment plans.

The most common sleep apnea treatment is using a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) therapy machine. CPAP machines require patients to wear a plastic mask covering their airways, connected to a tube that pumps oxygen into your lungs while sleeping. Another device offered is a dental appliance that helps open the airways worn at night time to increase good sleep and stop snoring. 

Some people find wearing devices to be uncomfortable and may opt for other more permanent treatment methods like surgery. Depending on the case, surgeries can remove tonsils and/or adenoids, restructure the mouth and/or nose, or opt for a procedure to stimulate the nerves in the tongue to help treat their sleep apnea. Wherever your journey to treat your sleep apnea may lead you, we are here to help. 

Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

If you are experiencing disordered sleep and want to be checked for sleep apnea, it’s time to make an appointment to see us. We can also help treat you if you’ve already been diagnosed.

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