Sleep Apnea

While snoring can be a common and minor issue, some cases can be a result of a more serious condition called sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing while they are asleep. This can happen several times in one night, preventing the brain from getting enough oxygen and leaving the person feeling tired during the day. In most cases, sleep apnea is due to an airway blockage from tissue in the back of the throat that collapses during sleep. Another form of sleep apnea is when the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles to breathe when asleep.

You Might Have Sleep Apnea if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Awakening abruptly and with shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or a sore throat
  • Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Difficulty paying attention

These symptoms can lead to other problems if left untreated such as high blood pressure, depression, stroke, heart failure, and diabetes. It can also affect your work and personal life, being responsible for poor work or school performance, car accidents, and a lack of energy to do the things you enjoy!

Factors that might put you at a high risk of sleep apnea are:

  • Being male
  • Being overweight
  • Being Over the age of 40
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Nasal obstruction from allergies, deviated septum or sinus infection

What to Expect with Sleep Apnea treatment

Treating sleep apnea might be done at home with a few lifestyle changes such as losing weight, changing sleep position to improve breathing, and avoiding alcohol or smoking.
In some cases, a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) must be used to treat sleep apnea. With this treatment, a mask is worn over the mouth and nose during sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that distributes a continuous flow of air to keep the airways open and promote regular breathing.

Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose and symptoms are often observed by a loved one. If you or a family member has noticed your signs of sleep apnea, Dr. Kim can give you more information on the condition and what your possible treatment options are.