Chances are, you have heard of sleep apnea. You may even think if it happens during sleep, what is the big deal? What is surprising about sleep apnea is its potential seriousness. Should you or someone you know develop the disorder, you may be glad you took the time to learn more about sleep apnea. Our sleep apnea doctors focus on helping those with sleep apnea lead better lives, both waking and sleeping.
Sleep apnea occurs while you sleep and disrupts respiration, prompting starts and stops in your breathing pattern. Our sleep apnea doctors believe loss of breathing is serious, even if you are unaware of it. Sleep apnea often prompts premature departure from deeper REM (dream) sleep back into lighter, non-REM sleep. This can lead to shallow breathing, as well as periods of time when you may not even be breathing at all! Occasionally, these pauses in breathing can last for a minute or more. Sleep apnea is no picnic, as it can lead to hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.
Because sleep apnea occurs while you sleep, you may wonder how to recognize it. This is where your partner may prove helpful, as he or she can note changes in your breathing or snoring as you sleep. (Chances are, if you are snoring loudly enough, someone will tell you.) Also, consider these common symptoms before you visit our sleep apnea doctors:
- Sleepiness throughout the day
- AM headaches
- Problems focusing
- Sore throat or dry mouth upon waking
If you suffer from a mild case of sleep apnea, our doctors may recommend lifestyle alterations, such as weight loss, physical exercise, or quitting smoking. For those with more severe sleep apnea, using breathing machines and oral appliances can help clear your airways during sleep, making breathing easier. In some rare instances, our sleep apnea doctors perform surgeries.
Call our office today if you feel you may have sleep apnea or to schedule a consultation regarding your symptoms and further treatment.