FAQs about Sleep Apnea
posted: May 06, 2020.
Have questions about obstructive sleep apnea? Our sleep specialists have answers.
Worried that your restless sleep and daytime exhaustion could be a sign of sleep disorder? Wondering if your bed partner suffers from sleep apnea? Our Portland and Astoria, OR sleep medicine physicians Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Jennifer Kim can address all of your questions and concerns about sleep apnea, a common chronic sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
This condition occurs when the muscles and tissue in the back of the throat collapse while a person is asleep, blocking the airways. This results in shallow or paused breathing throughout the night. During the course of one night, a person may experience tens or even hundreds of moments of paused breathing. Some episodes may last up to a minute.
What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?
Many people have sleep apnea but don’t even know it; however, some telltale signs include,
- Severe, chronic snoring (snoring that is so loud that it may even wake you up)
- Restless sleep or insomnia
- Not feeling refreshed into the morning despite getting enough sleep
- Experiencing extreme fatigue and exhaustion throughout the day
- Sore throat or dry throat in the morning
- Morning headaches
- Brain fog, poor memory and trouble concentrating
- Mood swings and increased irritability
- Nodding off at your desk or behind the wheel
What happens if obstructive sleep apnea isn’t treated?
If you or a partner is experiencing several of the symptoms above it is important that they visit our sleep physicians to find out if these symptoms are due to sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. Sleep apnea requires treatment. If you ignore or leave your sleep apnea untreated you are more at risk for,
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Car accidents
- Work-related injuries
How is sleep apnea treated?
The most common method for treatment is CPAP therapy, in which you wear a mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. Through a tube that connects the mouthpiece to a machine, pressurized air is delivered to the throat to keep airways open and to prevent blockages. In order for treatment to be effective, patients with sleep apnea must wear this device every night.
Other ways to improve sleep apnea symptoms include,
- Wearing a custom-fitted oral appliance designed for sleep apnea
- Losing excess weight
- Limiting the use of sedatives or alcohol
- Sleep on your back rather than your side or stomach
Due to Covid-19, Pacific Sleep Program has reduced its Portland location hours to Monday-Thursday, so patients dealing with severe sleep apnea and other issues can still get the care they need. To schedule an appointment with us call (503) 228-4414. For our Astoria, OR, location please call (503) 325-3126.