During sleep, the sleep apnea sufferer experiences long pauses in breathing broken by loud gasps of air, then snoring, and finally silence as the process repeats.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Morning headaches
- Daytime sleepiness
- Depression or anxiety
- Loss of sex drive
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Loud snoring
Why Does Sleep Apnea Occur?
There are two main causes of sleep apnea:
- Excessive Tissue: When you are asleep the tongue and other muscles in the throat relax. This floppy tissue can decrease or block the airway. As a result, your airway closes and airflow stops periodically during sleep.
- Weight: During sleep excessive weight around the neck and chest can create a narrowing of the airway due to the weight of muscles and tissue relaxing on the throat and chest. If you have a large neck or are clinically overweight, you may suffer from sleep apnea.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are several treatments available to consider, including lifestyle changes, weight loss, surgical correction, dental appliances and CPAP therapy. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure, a machine with a mask the patient wears while sleeping that uses positive air pressure acting as a splint to keep the airway open.
If you suffer from loud snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can evaluate your situation and discuss treatment options that will result in more restful nights and a better quality of life.