• Get Help Now!
    (No PCP Referral Needed)
Call Us: 480-830-3900

How to Sleep with Sleep Apnea

Do you know if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? photo credit: thart2009 via photopin cc

Do you know if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? photo credit: thart2009 via photopin cc

If you are one of the 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, you may be struggling to get the sleep you need each night and you may not even know why.  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be a life threatening condition that often goes undiagnosed and untreated.  Those who struggle with the condition experience a variety of symptoms ranging from excessive daytime sleepiness to long term health problems like hypertension.  In order to mitigate the short and long term effects of OSA, it is important for those with the condition to be diagnosed and treated.


What is OSA?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person’s sleep is frequently interrupted by apneas, short pauses in breathing that can last for 10 seconds or more.  Apneas occur when the airway is blocked during sleep by the collapse of muscles in the throat.   When the airway is blocked, oxygen levels decrease and sleep is interrupted.


What are the Symptoms of OSA?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Symptoms of sleep deprivation like moodiness and irritability
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times like while driving or at work


What Causes OSA?

While anyone at any age can suffer from sleep apnea, there are some factors that increase the risk.  People who are overweight, have a smaller than average upper airway or large overbite, and those with necks larger than 16-17 inches have an increased chance of suffering from sleep apnea.  People over 40, those who smoke or drink alcohol and those belonging to specific ethic groups like African Americans and Hispanics also have a greater risk of developing the condition.


What are the Dangers of OSA?

In addition to the short term consequences related to sleep deprivation like excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can also lead to long term health conditions like hypertension, stroke, depression, and cardiovascular problems like heart attack and congestive heart failure.  Those with the condition are also at increased risk for automobile accidents caused by drowsy driving.


How is OSA Treated?

The first step in treating OSA is getting an accurate diagnosis.  If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should call and make an appointment with a licensed sleep doctor to discuss your concerns.   Your doctor may refer you to a have a sleep study at Valley Sleep Center.  This is the best way to diagnose sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.  Once a diagnosis is made, the sleep doctor will recommend a treatment program that will likely include the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.  This is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea and can greatly improve symptoms in both the short and the long term.

Other treatments for sleep apnea that may be used in conjunction with the CPAP or instead of it include dental appliances, surgery, and lifestyle changes like losing weight and quitting smoking.  With proper treatment, people with sleep apnea can safeguard their health and alleviate the symptoms of this debilitating sleep disorder.


Related Articles:

Client Reviews

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA

"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ