What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a medical sleep disorder which occurs when your breathing is continually interrupted during sleeping. Most people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night, without even knowing it. The repeated sleep interruptions cause the brain and body to receive an inadequate amount of oxygen which results in long term mental and physical problems.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition causes the breathing airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep. When this happens, your breathing pauses momentarily, and then any air that is able squeeze past the blockage can cause loud snoring or snorting.

Most people who have sleep apnea do not even realize they have it because it only occurs during sleep and the only way you may realize it is if a family member or sleeping partner notices it. Sleep apnea can often go undiagnosed because doctors cannot detect the condition during a routine office or blood test. The only way to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. For more infomation regarding sleep apnea, be sure to visit other pages on our site including:

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, even children with enlarged tonsils or a small airway, but the most common risk factors for sleep apnea are:

  • Being male
  • Being overweight
  • Being over age 40
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Large tonsils and/or tongue or a small jaw bone
  • Nasal obstruction (deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems)
  • Large neck size

If left untreated over time, sleep apnea can cause several health problems in adults and children, such as heart-related ailments, diabetes, depression, weight gain and headaches. Additionally, untreated sleep apnea can be responsible for continual exhaustion which may result in mental and physical fatigue in both adults and children.

If you believe that you may suffer from sleep apnea, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.