Sleep Disorders

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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person's breathing to stop during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea can stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night, depriving the brain and body of oxygen. Seeing a family physician and getting a referral to Respiratory Therapist

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax and block your airway, often causing snoring. Central sleep apnea is a condition that is a lot less common than obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs because your brain doesn't send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. The most common cause of both types of sleep apnea is being overweight or obese. Other causes of obstructive sleep apnea include hypothyroidism, excessive production of growth hormone, a deviated septum and allergies. Other causes of central sleep apnea include medications such as narcotic painkillers.  Seeing a family physician and getting a referral to Respiratory Therapist

Sleep Apnea Symptoms & Treatment

Sleep apnea symptoms include:

• Loud snoring every night or almost every night 
• Fatigue during the day 
• Snorting or choking while sleeping 
• Shortness of breath 

Sleep apnea predisposes people to a variety of medical conditions. If you have sleep apnea, you're much more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, a heart attack, stroke or an irregular heart beat. It can also increase your risk of being involved in a car accident. Seeing a family physician and getting a referral to Respiratory Therapist

Sleep apnea treatment options include:

• Weight loss. Studies show that losing weight is an effective long-term treatment for patients with sleep apnea who are overweight or obese. 
• A CPAP machine, which blows pressure into your throat to prevent it from collapsing. 
• A dental device (also known as a mouthguard), which pulls the jaw forward and stops snoring. 
• Surgery to treat people who snore or have a blocked nose or nasal passage issues. If you undergo sleep apnea treatment, you may work with your physician, a sleep specialist, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) and/or a CPAP specialist.  Seeing a family physician and getting a referral to Respiratory Therapist

There are also sleep apnea devices such as a sleep apnea pillow or a shirt with a cushion in it that prevent you from rolling on your back at night. Therefore, you sleep more on your side, and you won't be as inclinced to obstruct your throat.

Talk to your physician if you'd like more information on sleep apnea.

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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax and block your airway, often causing snoring.

  • Central sleep apnea is a condition that is a lot less common than obstructive sleep apnea.

  • The most common cause of both types of sleep apnea is being overweight or obese.

  • If you have sleep apnea, you're much more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, a heart attack, stroke or an irregular heart beat.  Seeing a family physician and getting a referral to Respiratory Therapist

  • Sleep apnea treatment options include weight loss, a CPAP machine, a dental device and surgery.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

Some of the conditions that patients suffer from are sleep apnea, snoring and narcolepsy. Sleep specialists treat patients using a variety of therapies, including medication, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), and oral appliances. Depending on your condition, you may even be monitored at a sleep clinic.

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