If you are having trouble with snoring or your breathing at night, our team of specialists are here to help you at any one of our Sleep Centers.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as stopping breathing for short periods of time during sleep. Those with sleep apnea can stop breathing hundreds of times each night, and sometimes for as long as a minute or more, making sleep apnea a dangerous and life-threatening condition.
There are essentially three kinds of sleep apnea – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Complex Sleep Apnea, which is a combination of the first two.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to narrow or close completely.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is less common, and it occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This results in pauses in breathing, similar to OSA, but without any obstruction in the airway. CSA is often associated with other medical conditions such as heart failure, stroke and brainstem injury.
- Being overweight
- Being a male 40+
- Having a short, muscular neck
- Having a history of snoring
Do you have OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)?
Take this screening below to help find out if you are at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
|Have you been told that you snore?
|Are you often tired during the day?
|Do you know if you stop breathing or has anyone witnessed you stop breathing while you are asleep?
|Do you have high blood pressure or on medication to control high blood pressure?
If you answered YES to two or more questions on the STOP portion you are at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is recommended that you contact your primary care provider to discuss a possible sleep disorder.
To find out if you are at moderate to severe risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, complete the BANG questions below.
|Is your body mass index greater than 28?
|Are you 50 years old or older?
|Are you a male with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches, or a female with a neck circumference greater than 16 inches?
|Are you a male?
The more questions you answer YES to on the BANG portion, the more your risk increases.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused when one or more points in the airway narrow, and this could be caused by fat deposits or masses around the walls of the airway, anatomical problems, hereditary influences or the most common reason which is extra tissue in the airway between the base of the tongue and the Adam's apple.
During sleep, because you are in a horizontal position, the narrowing becomes an issue.
Alcohol and sedatives can also contribute to sleep apnea as they depress the central nervous system and relax the airway muscles.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Gasping during sleep
- Enlarged tonsils or tongue
- Persistent headaches in the morning
- Mood swings
- Memory difficulties
When Should I See a Specialist?
A good rule of thumb is to see a specialist if your problem persists longer than a month. You should also get expert help immediately if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath or sudden falling asleep.
For obstructive sleep apnea, there are three types of treatment – behavioral, medical and surgical. Talk with your primary care provider or sleep specialist to learn more.