Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, occur when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, even when the individual is making an effort to breathe. As a result, oxygen levels in the blood drop, causing the individual to briefly awaken in order to resume breathing. This cycle of repeated awakenings and drops in oxygen levels can occur hundreds of times each night, leading to fragmented, poor-quality sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is the more common of the two, accounting for up to 84% of all sleep apnea diagnoses. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, usually due to obesity, poor muscle tone, or physical obstruction of the airway. In contrast, CSA occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have significant consequences for physical and mental health. Individuals with sleep apnea are at increased risk of a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, which can increase the risk of accidents, particularly while driving.
The diagnosis of sleep apnea typically begins with a clinical evaluation, which may include a medical history, physical exam, and evaluation of sleep and wake patterns. In order to definitively diagnose sleep apnea, a sleep study is often necessary. This may involve an overnight stay at a sleep center or the use of a portable sleep monitoring device.
Treatment for sleep apnea typically involves lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and sleeping on your side. In some cases, the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be recommended. CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep to deliver a constant flow of air to keep the airway open. Other treatment options may include oral appliances, which work by repositioning the jaw and tongue to help maintain an open airway, and surgical procedures to correct physical obstructions of the airway.
In addition to these treatments, individuals with sleep apnea may benefit from other measures aimed at improving sleep quality, such as practicing good sleep hygiene, reducing stress, and avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime. Regular follow-up with a sleep specialist is also recommended to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and make any necessary adjustments.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have significant consequences for physical and mental health. While there is no cure for sleep apnea, it can be effectively managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, medical treatment, and ongoing monitoring and management by a sleep specialist. By working together with healthcare providers and making the necessary lifestyle and treatment changes, individuals with sleep apnea can improve the quality of their sleep and reduce the risk of associated health problems.
W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep & Medspa Centers
- New York:
- Brooklyn: W8MD's NYC Medical Weight Loss, sleep and medspa 2632 E.21st Street Ste L3, Brooklyn, New York 11235. Call (718) 946 5500
- Philadelphia: Poly-Tech Sleep & W8MD Philadelphia Medical Weight Loss 1718, Welsh Rd, Philadelphia, PA, 19115. Call (215) 676 2334
- King of Prussia: Poly-Tech Sleep & W8MD King of Prussia Medical Weight Loss, Sleep and Medspa 175 Strafford Avenue, Wayne PA 19087 - Executive Commons Ste 1. (215) 676-2334.
- New Jersey
- Cherry Hill: (coming soon) W8MD's New Jersey Weight Loss, Sleep Clinic 140 E Evesham Rd, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 (215) 676 2334
Call (718) 946-5500
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