Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause pauses in breathing or abnormal breathing. When you experience sleep apnea, your breathing stops for short periods during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
What causes sleep apnea?
It is important to know your risk for sleep apnea. Risk factors include:
- Male gender
- Age greater than 50
- Body mass index (BMI) greater than 35
- Neck circumference greater than 16 (Female)
- Neck circumference greater than 17 (Male)
- Blocked or narrowed airways in your nose, mouth or throat
Symptoms of sleep apnea
You can help spot sleep apnea early. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Episodes where you stop breathing during sleep
- Gasping during sleep
How can you prevent sleep apnea?
You can take simple steps such as maintaining a normal BMI, exercising and sleeping on your side to help prevent the development of sleep apnea.
How do you treat sleep apnea?
If you believe sleep apnea is interfering with your daily sleep, work and life, contact your primary care doctor to schedule a sleep study. Our treatments include:
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) – delivers air pressure through a mask to keep your airway open while you sleep, preventing snoring and apnea.
- BiPAP (Bi-level positive airway pressure) – is like CPAP in that it provides air through a mask to keep your airway open while you sleep but at a higher pressure when you breathe in than when you breathe out.