Sleep Apnea

Definition

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. Potentially life-threatening condition that is far more common than generally understood.

Symptoms

  • Snoring
  • Choking Sensation
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritable
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

Effects of Untreated Sleep Apnea

  • Sleepiness during the day and decreased performance
  • Increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke
  • Increased risk for motor vehicle accidents

How to Get Diagnosed

If you suspect you have sleep apnea you should talk with your physician about getting diagnosed. If you do not have a physician you can be seen in our sleep clinic. For more information call 563-421-1523.

Evaluation

  • Your physician will start by getting a complete medical history
  • The physician will want to speak with your bed partner or other members of your household about your sleeping and daytime behavior.
  • To diagnose the sleep apnea and determine the severity your physician may refer you for a sleep study. You may also be referred for an MSLT if your doctor needs to assess how your disorder affects your level of alertness during the day.

Treatment

  • Weight loss may help
  • Avoid alcohol within four hours of bedtime
  • Avoid sleeping pills
  • Sleep lying on one side
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) - Highly effective therapy. A light mask is worn during sleep. Pressure from an air compressor forces air though the nasal passages and into the throat. This gentle pressure holds the throat open and allows normal breathing.
  • Oral Appliances: Some patients are helped by devices that open the airway by bringing the jaw, tongue and soft palate forward.
  • Surgery: Physical problems that interfere with sleep can sometimes be surgically corrected. These problems include: enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps or other growths, a deviated nasal septum, and unusually formed jaw or soft palate.
  • UPPP - Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a surgeon removes excess tissue at the back of the throat that may be blocking the airway during sleep.

Contact Us 

For more information about our sleep services, please contact:

563-421-1525
Email

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