Sleep Care

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA) afflicts 20 million adult men and women in the United States. People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep because the airway collapses. Airway collapse may be due to a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open.

As a result, air is prevented from getting into the lungs which leads to pauses in breathing. These disruptions can happen 30 times or more per hour and the sleeping individual is typically not even aware of them. When healthy sleep is interrupted in this way, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions may increase.

Common Symptoms of OSA

OSA can occur in men, women and children of all ages and sizes. Most people who have OSA do not realize they have the condition. Often, it is someone else who witnesses the first signs of OSA. Key signs and common symptoms of OSA include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud or disruptive snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Grogginess and morning headaches
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Depression and irritability
  • Obesity
  • Large neck or crowding of the upper airway
  • Post-menopausal women

What Happens if OSA is not treated?

People who do not seek diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea may increase their risk for the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue-related motor vehicle and work accidents
  • Decreased quality of life

What is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), pronounced “see-PAP”. Other less common treatments include surgery and oral appliances, which may be effective in certain individuals. Any treatments should include weight loss if needed, exercise, and avoidance of alcohol, sedatives and hypnotics.

PAP therapy will relieve the airway obstruction that occurs while you sleep. PAP treatment can dramatically improve the life of one diagnosed with sleep apnea. When you wear the system every night during sleep and optimum therapy is achieved, you may experience the following benefits of treatment:

  • Increased energy level and attentiveness during the day
  • Fewer morning headaches
  • Reduced irritability
  • Improved memory
  • Less waking during the night to go to the bathroom
  • Increased ability to exercise
  • Increased effectiveness at home or at work
  • Improved overall quality of life

Do you have Sleep Apnea?

If you suspect you might have OSA, contact Dr. Michael Newnam at Oklahoma Heart Institute. Dr. Newnam specializes in sleep disorders. You will likely need a sleep study performed which will provide Dr. Newnam with information about how you sleep and breathe. This information will help him determine your diagnosis and treatment options.

What is a Sleep Study?

You will spend the night in a private room at Tulsa Spine & Specialty Hospital. Based on the results of the study, Dr. Newnam will be able to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment options.

For more information on sleep apnea, go to SleepApnea.com.

 

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