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Sleep Apnea

Overview

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition where a person’s breathing stops and starts multiple times throughout the night. This disorder can cause health conditions such as high blood pressure or other heart issues if left untreated.

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Types of This Condition and Their Causes

There are three main types of sleep apnea, each caused by different factors:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This type, which is the most common, happens when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and partially blocks the airways. The diaphragm and chest muscles work overtime to clear breathing, eventually causing heart conditions.
  • Central sleep apnea: This form stems from respiratory control dysfunction, which is when the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. This type doesn’t involve a restricted airway — it all comes from the central nervous system. Central sleep apnea is most common in those with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which concerns the loss of muscle control in the spinal cord and brain, or those who have had a stroke.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Also called treatment-emergent sleep apnea, this type combines central and obstructive sleep apnea. It is not fully understood why this can happen, but it has been linked to insomnia and low carbon dioxide levels.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Regular nighttime snoring is commonly misdiagnosed as sleep apnea and vice versa, but they are distinct from each other. Regular snoring is caused by a nose or throat condition and can be triggered by back sleeping, older age or obesity. On the other hand, those suffering from sleep apnea will have the following symptoms:

  • Louder snoring
  • Repeatedly stopping breathing for over 10 seconds while asleep
  • Gasping or choking for air
  • Morning headache
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty staying asleep at night
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating during the day
  • Irritability

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

There are two main tests that sleep specialists use to formally diagnose sleep apnea. A nocturnal polysomnography is usually done in a sleep disorder center. For this test, you are hooked up to a machine that monitors several elements, such as your heart, lungs, breathing patterns, brain activity, body movement and blood oxygen levels.

Your doctor may also conduct a home sleep test. These are simplified and can monitor blood oxygen, heart rate, breathing patterns and airflow while you sleep. If the results are abnormal, the sleep specialist may prescribe sleep apnea treatment.

There are several options for treatment, but the most common is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This machine is used at night and opens the airways to allow for restful sleep. If the CPAP mask is too cumbersome and uncomfortable, there are also other therapies available, such as using a bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) device and auto-CPAP. Both adjust the pressure level automatically throughout the night when you inhale and exhale.

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Contact Sleep Apnea Doctors in Queens and Brooklyn, NY

Sleep apnea can be dangerous to your health if left untreated. At Advanced Medical Care, we can provide reliable diagnoses and treatments. For more information on sleep apnea, contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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