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Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of Obstructive and Central Sleep Apneas include:
This occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.
When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can’t get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it.
You might snort, choke or gasp. This pattern can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour, all night, impairing your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.
This less common form of sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. This means that you make no effort to breathe for a short period. You might awaken with shortness of breath or have a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep.
Your primary care doctor will not be able to detect the symptoms of sleep apnea because they occur during sleep. Even you may be unaware of the signs. Most cases are brought to light because of a partner or family member who witnesses the symptoms.
To diagnose the condition, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms as well as gain information about your medical history, family history, medications, and lifestyle.
There are two tests are used to diagnose sleep apnea:
If the Physicians at San Tan Sleep Solutions suspect you have sleep apnea, they will order a one of these two Sleep Study tests.
If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, your doctor might also refer you to:
Our board-certified physicians will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan for sleep apnea.
There are many treatment options to choose from. These may include:
If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, you might benefit from using a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep. With CPAP (SEE-pap), the air pressure is somewhat greater than that of the surrounding air and is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.
Although CPAP is the most common and reliable method of treating sleep apnea, some people find it cumbersome or uncomfortable. Some people give up on the CPAP machine, but with practice, most people learn to adjust the tension of the straps on the mask to obtain a comfortable and secure fit.
You might need to try more than one type of mask to find one that’s comfortable. Don’t stop using the CPAP machine if you have problems. Check with your doctor to see what changes can be made to increase your comfort.
Additionally, contact your doctor if you’re still snoring or begin snoring again despite treatment. If your weight changes, the pressure settings of the CPAP machine might need to be adjusted.
DO NOT adjust the settings without consulting your Physician.
If using a CPAP machine continues to be a problem for you, you might be able to use a different type of airway pressure device that automatically adjusts the pressure while you’re sleeping (auto-CPAP).
Units that supply Bi-Level positive airway pressure (BPAP) also are available. These provide more pressure when you inhale and less when you exhale.
Another option is wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open. CPAP is more reliably effective than oral appliances, but oral appliances might be easier to use. Some are designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
A number of devices are available from your dentist. You might need to try different devices before finding one that works for you.
Once you find the right fit, you’ll need to follow up with your dentist repeatedly during the first year and then regularly after that to ensure that the fit is still good and to reassess your signs and symptoms.
Contact San Tan Cardiovascular Center today to make an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.
At this appointment:
Our billing department will then contact your health insurance company to obtain prior authorization. Upon receiving insurance authorization, the test will be scheduled.
Q: What are the risk factors for Sleep Apnea?
A: Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Central Sleep Apnea
Q: What are some complications from Sleep Apnea?
Before you have surgery, tell your doctor about your sleep apnea and how it’s being treated.
Q: When should I see a doctor?
A: Loud snoring can indicate a potentially serious problem, but not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. Talk to your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea. Ask your doctor about any sleep problem that leaves you fatigued, sleepy and irritable.
Q: How can I prevent Sleep Apnea?
A: There are things you can do at home to help avoid sleep apnea, such as:
If you suspect you or a family member may have Sleep Apnea, please call San Tan Sleep Solutions office for a consultation.