If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
You’ve most likely heard of sleep apnea, but do you know what it is? Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: the most common form that occurs when the upper airway is partially or completely blocked.
Central Sleep Apnea: occurs when the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Mixed Sleep Apnea: occurs when a person has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Since Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common, here’s a breakdown of what it is and how it occurs. During normal breathing, air passes through the nose and past the flexible structures in the back of the throat. When a person is awake, these muscles hold the airway open. When they are asleep the muscles relax, but the airway usually stays open. Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway and airflow are blocked during sleep, causing the oxygen levels in both the brain and the blood to drop. This results in shallow breathing or breathing pauses. OSA breathing interruptions may occur hundreds of times each night, and could be the result of structural abnormalities or possible brain malfunctions.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea may be treated with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, cutting down on alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. Nasal training devices are also commonly used. Another treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves the patient wearing a pressurized mask over their nose while they sleep. The mask pumps air through the person’s airway to keep it open throughout the night.
If more conservative treatments are unsuccessful in treating sleep apnea, there are other options available. Individuals who suffer from severe cases that may lead to serious medical conditions might benefit from surgery. The goal of most surgical procedures is to remove the excess tissue from the nose or throat and open upper air passages to facilitate breathing.
In order to choose the best treatment option, your physician may suggest a sleep study. Although many sleep studies are performed in testing facilities, Florida E.N.T. & Allergy offers an at-home option. During the home sleep study, a small recording device is attached to the patient over two nights. The physician will then analyze the results from a Board Certified Sleep Specialist and determine the best course of treatment.
According to Dr. Jon Burton, a specialist at Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, “Many patients and physicians prefer home sleep studies since the natural at-home environment facilitates a normal night’s sleep, improving the accuracy of test results.”
The physicians of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy have served the Tampa Bay community for over 40 years. Their board certified physicians have completed extensive education and clinical training as well as specialized training in their area(s) of expertise. From pediatric allergies to fitting hearing aids, their caring and experienced physicians specialize in ear, nose and throat care for the entire family using comprehensive, cutting edge technologies.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 813-879-8045 or visit
Florida E.N.T. & Allergy online at www.FloridaENTandAllergy.com.