What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Do you ever wonder what happens when you sleep? Over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and its potential dangerous effects. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder and chronic condition that causes interrupted breathing throughout the night. With each interrupted breath, the brain becomes more and more at risk for not getting the proper amount of oxygen. As it takes over the night, it isn’t unusual for sleep apnea signs and symptoms to go unnoticed among victims. This causes a poor quality of sleep for people with sleep apnea and presents a greater risk for other health problems in the process.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two main types of sleep apnea that can be diagnosed in patients with sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Obstructive sleep apnea is when airways become obstructed during sleep. This is the most prevalent form of sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea causes shortness of breath and pauses in breathing.

Central Sleep Apnea 

Central sleep apnea has more to do with the failure of the brain sending signals to the muscles to breathe. With no regulation, the respiratory system becomes at risk. Central sleep apnea occurs in people who have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking specific medications.

Sleep Apnea Signs & Symptoms

More than anything, it is important to be aware of sleep apnea signs and symptoms. Identifying a few red flags, could end up saving your sleep and more importantly, your life. As sleep apnea interrupts one’s breathing throughout the night, it may lead to various indicators of this sleep disorder. One common thread among people with sleep apnea, is their tendency to disrupt their partner’s sleep with snoring or gasping. Although snoring is quite common, it can be an indicator of sleep apnea. It is usually the sleep partner or roommate that brings this nighttime disturbance to their partner’s attention.

Victims of sleep apnea may wake up with dry mouth or a sore throat due to breathing struggles throughout the night. Interrupted breathing patterns form at different periods during the night and in turn, decrease quality of sleep. While sleep never stays fluid throughout the night, it may cause a domino effect of daytime symptoms. Sleepiness during the day could cause headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating and problems retaining information. Sleep apnea signs and symptoms could also heighten anxiety.

Risks of Sleep Apnea

If left untreated, sleep apnea and its risks can lead to dire consequences. Constant sleep deprivation can cause sleep apnea victims to lose the ability to concentrate, make sound decisions during the day and various other adverse challenges. Health also takes a toll as high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and depression can occur if sleep apnea remains untreated. There is no turning back if sleep apnea takes a wrong turn.


Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that will not fade with time and must be treated. Contact a qualified sleep doctor to help you evaluate your potential signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. During your initial consultation, your doctor will discuss your sleep apnea indicators, perform a physical exam, evaluate your medical history and address any concerns you may have. The doctor may schedule a sleep test to further evaluate the patient’s signs and symptoms. The sleep test can be performed in the office or at the patient’s home. After an overview of the patient’s sleep apnea has been assessed, the doctor will customize a treatment plan for the patient.

Leading Treatment Options

There is a treatment option for every patient with sleep apnea. One treatment option is an oral device. Oral devices are uniquely molded to the patient’s teeth to help ease breathing at night. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy enlists the help of machine that uses pressurized air to keep airways open while sleeping. Another option would be Provent, which is two part, disposable device that is placed over the nostrils that utilizes pressurized air to keep the nasal airways open during sleep. Winx, an oral pressure therapy machine, can be used to help sleep apnea subside by sending a negative pressure through the mouth to clear the airways for better breathing at night. Devices like, the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation System, can be implanted to be controlled and programmed by the doctor and the patient. Inspire treats sleep apnea by reacting to breathing throughout the night and expanding the airways. No matter where you stand on the scale of your comfortability with the treatment solutions, your sleep apnea can be treated with one of these leading options.

Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Children are also susceptible to sleep apnea. Pediatric sleep apnea symptoms include:

• Behavioral problems
• Learning deficiencies
• Snoring
• Restless sleeping
• Hyperactivity
• Mouth breathing

Treatment options include specialized oral devices, CPAP machines, tonsillectomy surgery and adenoidectomy surgery. In children, it is very important to treat their sleep apnea as it may worsen over time.

If you feel that sleep apnea may be plaguing your nights, please reach out and contact Dr. Shukla at Sleep MD NYC to get the treatment and care you deserve.

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