What You Should Know About Sleep Apnea
By Pacific Sleep Program
March 16, 2017
Category: Health
Tags: sleep apnea  

At Pacific Sleep Program in Portland, OR, our physicians know that a good night's sleep is key to productivity and comfort. That's why Dr. sleep apneaJennifer Kim, Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Gregory Clark as well as our affiliated clinicians Debra White NP and Dori Macdonald PA strive to help their patients discover the root of their sleep issues and help them correct the problem. Many people who visit Pacific Sleep Program suffer from sleep apnea. We discuss the basics of this common sleep disorder here.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes pauses in breathing. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), in which the muscles at the back of the throat collapse during sleep, is the most common type of sleep apnea and is often linked to weight problems, hypertension, heart problems such as atrial fibrillation and other common problems such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and chronic headaches. Failure to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea can lead to problems with weight regulation, high blood pressure, diabetes and complications such as heart attacks and strokes. 

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Many patients who visit their Portland sleep specialist with concerns of sleep apnea are first alerted to their condition by their sleeping partner, who either notices the significant lapse in breathing or the loud snoring or gasping that follows the long pause. Otherwise, sleep apnea may go undetected unless the person visits their primary care physician for one or more of its common symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches or dry mouth.

How is sleep apnea treated?

There are a variety of treatments offered at Pacific Sleep Program in Portland that can help lessen the effects of sleep apnea. For some patients, positional devices which ensure a patient sleeps on the sides rather than on the back, can help. Wearing a mask that creates gentle pressurized air (CPAP) during sleep can be very helpful for many people. Surgery to correct anatomical problems in the nose or throat may also correct the problem. Wearing oral appliances, or mouthpieces, during sleep can be effective as well. 

If you think you might be dealing with sleep apnea, don't hesitate to contact Pacific Sleep Program in Portland, OR. Our physicians want to help you sleep better and live life to the fullest!