What Is Sleep Apnea and How To Treat It
Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which a person repeatedly stops breathing as they sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea (they may also be mixed). The more common of the two, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the throat tissues and muscles relax and block the airway. Breathing can stop once or twice an hour, or hundreds of times during the night, and often for a minute or longer.
New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions is the practice of choice for most New Jersey residents seeking treatment for this sleep disorder. If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Ivan F. Stein will evaluate your medical history and sleep apnea symptoms, work closely with medical sleep specialists who perform diagnostic sleep study testing and, if a diagnosis is confirmed, customize a treatment plan to your needs.
Just How Serious Is Sleep Apnea?
Some Scary Statistics About Sleep Apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 22 million Americans.
- An additional 6 to 12 million remain undiagnosed.
- A person with untreated OSA is up to four times more likely to suffer a stroke and three times more likely to develop heart disease.
- About half of all people with high blood pressure have OSA.
- A person with OSA is six times more likely to get into a car accident than someone that does not have OSA.
- The significant other of a person with OSA can lose up to an hour of sleep per night because they are awoken by snoring, gasping and choking by their bedmate.
- 38,000 deaths per year are attributed in some way to sleep apnea.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
You should schedule a screening appointment with a sleep specialist if you experience the following sleep apnea symptoms:
- Your significant other complains about your snoring. People with sleep apnea tend to snore regularly and loudly enough to disrupt their partner’s sleep. Breathing cessation then follows the snoring. It is also common to make gasping or choking sounds during sleep, as your body struggles to breathe. If your partner has made you aware that you snore, gasp or choke in your sleep, it’s time to see a doctor to undergo a sleep apnea screening.
- You feel excessively sleepy during the day. During a cessation in breath, your body partially awakens. This compromises quality of restful, restorative sleep. You may experience difficulty concentrating, drowsiness or the inability to stay awake during the day.
- A dry or sore throat in the morning
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, weight or race. However, the following factors raise the risk of developing sleep apnea:
- Males are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea as women
- Adults over the age of 40
- Being overweight or obese – excess weight around neck or chin can obstruct breathing
- Thicker neck or chin – usually indicates a narrower airway
- Family history of sleep apnea or snoring
- Regular consumption of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers – relaxes muscles in the throat
- Smoking – causes inflammation and fluid retention in the airways, reducing the space for air to pass through
- Enlarged tonsils/adenoids – reduces amount of room for air to pass through airway
- Lower jaw that is smaller than the upper jaw
Effects of Sleep Apnea
Chronic sleep apnea can have serious consequences.
People with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and other life-threatening health conditions. As the airway collapses and oxygen is cut off, the body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This weakens the cardiovascular system and increases blood pressure.
Sleep apnea takes a toll in a psychological sense, too. People that suffer from sleep apnea are unable to enjoy quality, restorative sleep. During the day, they are often sleepy and irritable. Over time, a person can become moody and depressed because they are not receiving the rest their body needs.
Insufficient sleep from sleep apnea is a global problem, too. A lack of quality sleep has been recognized as a “public health epidemic,” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to auto accidents and occupational accidents. Being perpetually tired makes it difficult to perform daily tasks, lowers productivity and affects overall quality of life.
How Do We Assist in the Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea?
New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions has close relationships with sleep specialists that perform several tests to screen for sleep disorders. These tests may monitor your heart, lung and brain activity, as well as your breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. We work hand-in-hand with experienced “sleep doctors” (e.g., pulmonologists, otolaryngologists or cardiologists) to ensure you get the most comprehensive treatment available.
Contact New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions
To schedule a complimentary consultation at New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions in West Orange, please call us at (855) WHY-SNORE or (855) 949-7667.