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Tel: 936-242-6957

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SLEEP APNEA

Overview

Overview

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. When this happens, you may snore loudly or making choking noises as you try to breathe. Your brain and body becomes oxygen deprived and you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night, or in more severe cases, several hundred times a night.

In many cases, an apnea, or temporary pause in breathing, is caused by the tissue in the back of the throat collapsing. The muscles of the upper airway relax when you fall asleep. If you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back. This narrows the airway, which reduces the amount of air that can reach your lungs. The narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in back of the throat vibrate as you breathe.

There are many people with sleep apnea who have not been diagnosed or received treatment. We have the tools to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and provide methods of treatment to manage the disorder.

Do You Have Sleep Apnea?

Causes

Symptoms

The major risk factor for sleep apnea is excess body weight. You are much more likely to have sleep apnea if you are overweight or obese. However, sleep apnea can occur in slim people too.  Common risk factors for sleep apnea include: 

  • Excess weight – Your risk for sleep apnea is higher if you are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more or obese with a BMI of 30 or higher.

  • Large neck size - Your risk for sleep apnea is higher if you have a neck size of 17 inches or more for men, or 16 inches or more for women. A large neck has more soft tissue that can block your airway during sleep.

  • Middle age – Sleep apnea can occur at any age. However, it is more common between young adulthood and middle age.

  • Male gender – Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women. For women the risk of sleep apnea increases with menopause.

  • Hypertension – High blood pressure is extremely common in people who have sleep apnea.

  • Family history – Sleep apnea is a heritable condition. This means that you have a higher risk of sleep apnea if a family member also has it. Inherited traits that increase the risk for sleep apnea include obesity and physical features such as a recessed jaw. Other common family factors - such as physical activity and eating habits - also may play a role.

The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring is likely to be a sign of sleep apnea when it is followed by silent breathing pauses and choking or gasping sounds. 

People with sleep apnea often have daytime sleepiness or fatigue. 

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud or frequent snoring

  • Silent pauses in breathing

  • Choking or gasping sounds

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue

  • Unrefreshing sleep

  • Insomnia

  • Morning headaches

  • Nocturia (waking during the night to go to the bathroom) 

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory loss

  • Decreased sexual desire

  • Irritability