Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea

A disorder characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep, sleep apnea is well known to prevent individuals from getting their fair share of a good night’s rest. It occurs when partly or fully blocked airways cause you to stop breathing for a few seconds to a few minutes during sleep and is commonly discovered by a partner who notices the symptoms, which include snoring, gasping, or sometimes even choking for breath during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, heart enlargement, poor memory irritability, depression, lack of concentration. This is why it’s so important to seek out sleep apnea treatment.

Whether you yourself have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or think your partner may have the condition, there are likely many questions that you’ll want to ask. Learning more about sleep apnea and exactly how it’s treated is key to helping anyone better manage the condition, to decrease complications, and to improve on sleep quality. Find below some frequently asked questions about sleep apnea.

1. What causes sleep apnea?

As mentioned, sleep apnea can occur if airways become obstructed while in sleeping mode. In some cases, the tongue and throat muscles relax, which in turn block the windpipe. Structural issues, such as a large tongue or tonsils can also increase the risks of developing this condition. Further, those who are overweight are at increased risk having sleep apnea.

2. What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The most typical symptom would be snoring—though it is important to remember that not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Those who actually have the condition often have excessive daytime sleepiness and morning headaches due to disrupted sleep patterns.

3. What negative effects can sleep apnea cause?

Because sleep apnea decreases the quality of sleep over time, it goes on to have a cumulative effect that causes several consequences including memory problems, trouble concentrating, and mood disturbances. It can also increase your chances of having an accident while driving.

4. How do I know for sure if I have sleep apnea?

The best way to know for certain is to have a sleep study called a polysomnogram done. During the study, a sleep technologist will monitor your sleep along with your brain activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and breathing patterns during sleep. The results of the study helps your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. Sleep studies usually take between nine and ten hours from start to finish, though exact times may vary.

5. How is sleep apnea treated?

Fortunately, sleep apnea can usually be successfully treated– with the most common sleep apnea treatment being continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is delivered through a mask attached to a small CPAP machine that provides air pressure to keep the airway open and to prevent cessation of breathing during sleep.

Although CPAP is very effective, other options including dental devices, surgeries, and simple weight loss are also available to consider.

A Good Night’s Sleep

The primary goal at Sleep MD NYC is to help you receive the best sleep possible every night and all the time. For more information on ways to keep healthy and sleep apnea treatment, please reach out and contact Dr. Shukla at Sleep MD NYC to get the help and care you deserve.

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