Sleep apnea affects your daily life by causing fatigue and memory problems, but that’s not where your health concerns end. Ongoing sleep apnea can lead to serious complications like high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart arrhythmias. The team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan, can help you regain your health with effective sleep apnea treatments that also prevent future problems. Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when you stop breathing while you sleep. These apnea episodes are frequently repeated throughout the night, with it being considered severe OSA if you have 30 or more episodes an hour.
When you fall asleep, your tongue and soft palate fall toward the back of your throat, where they can partially or completely cover your airway.
If your airway is partially blocked, you snore. When it’s completely covered, you stop breathing. As oxygen levels quickly drop, your brain nudges you awake just enough to take a breath.
Since you don’t need to regain full consciousness to resume breathing, you won’t know you have apnea episodes.
The most common symptoms of OSA include:
Most patients learn about the problem when someone in their household notices a cycle of loud snoring, sudden silence when they stop breathing, followed by a gasp when they take a breath.
Although your symptoms may point toward OSA, the only way to accurately diagnose the condition is with a sleep study done at home or in a sleep lab.
During a home sleep study, you wear monitors that measure your oxygen levels, breathing, and airflow, sending the data to a small monitor. This information shows whether you stop breathing, and how frequently it happens. Lab sleep studies collect the same information, plus they record your heart rate, brain waves, eye movements, and muscle movements.
If you have mild sleep apnea and you’re overweight, losing weight may be all you need to stop your OSA. Otherwise, the team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists recommends an oral appliance or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, depending on the severity of your OSA and your preferences.
With a CPAP machine, you wear a mask that delivers air and creates enough pressure to keep your airway open. A customized oral appliance holds your jaw and tongue in a forward position, which stops your tongue from covering the airway.
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.