Sleep Apnea: Risks, Diagnosis and Treatment In Greenville, TX
Sleep apnea may affect as many as 22 million Americans, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Unfortunately, many people who have sleep apnea don't realize that their symptoms are caused by the disorder. Your Greenville, TX, pulmonologists, Dr. Mohan Philip of Greenville Pulmonary Associates, can help you evaluate your sleep apnea risk factors and explain treatment options.
Sleep apnea causes nighttime breathing pause
Do you ever choke in your sleep or find yourself gasping for breath? These symptoms can occur if sleep apnea triggers breathing pauses while you sleep. These pauses can last several seconds and may occur hundreds of times throughout the night. Choking or gasping re-starts your natural breathing pattern. Unfortunately, you may stop breathing again just a few minutes after you fall asleep again. Other symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- Loud snoring
- A morning headache or sore throat
- Mood changes
- Difficulty staying awake during the day
- Trouble concentrating at work or school
Sleep apnea can happen if:
- Your tongue falls against your throat when you sleep, blocking your airway.
- Your soft palate (the back part of the roof of your mouth) collapses when you sleep.
- There's a miscommunication between the brain and the muscles that control breathing.
Sleep apnea may also occur due to a combination of these factors.
The sleep disorder increases your risk of serious health conditions
Breathing pauses deprive your brain of oxygen and increase your likelihood of developing these diseases and conditions:
- Heart failure or heart attack
- Abnormal heartbeats
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
Chronic fatigue may be a factor in car accidents or injuries at work. The disorder can also worsen the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Treatments that stop breathing pauses and improve your sleep
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are often used to treat sleep apnea if a sleep study in Greenville reveals that you have the disorder. You'll wear a mask attached to a small machine that forces a continuous flow of air into your throat while you sleep. The air prevents your throat or soft palate from collapsing and keeps your airway clear. Oral appliances that move the jaw forward also help keep the airway open. If these options are effective, your doctor may recommend laser, heat or surgical treatments that reduce excess tissue in your soft palate or throat or prevent your soft palate from collapsing.