Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialists located in Bridgewater, NJ
According to statistics compiled by the American Sleep Apnea Association, as many as 22 million Americans are living with sleep apnea, most of whom have no idea they have the condition. Finding relief is important and is possible through the board-certified specialists at Respacare in Bridgewater, New Jersey. When you’re ready to learn more, book your visit online or over the phone in just moments.
Sleep Apnea Q & A
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by frequent breathing interruptions throughout the night. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause or contribute to serious health issues.
There are several types of sleep apnea. During your diagnostic work-up at Respacare, your practitioner determines which type you are struggling with:
Obstructive sleep apnea
People with this type of sleep apnea experience breathing difficulties when the muscles in their throat relax at night, blocking their airways and causing sudden and abrupt gasping for air.
Central sleep apnea
This type of sleep apnea develops due to a problem in the signaling between your brain and the muscles that regulate breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome
This is a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. It is also sometimes referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.
Of these types, obstructive sleep apnea makes up the vast majority of cases. Researchers are aware of a strong link between obesity and sleep apnea, and people who are overweight or obese have a far higher risk level than those who are at a healthy weight.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Knowing the symptoms of sleep apnea can help you decide when to seek treatment. Because many of these symptoms suggest other medical issues, many people live with sleep apnea for years before being properly diagnosed.
Some of the signs you might have sleep apnea include:
- Headaches in the morning
- Daytime sleepiness
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Low libido
- Memory problems
- Increased irritability
- Problems focusing during the day
Very often, the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are noticed by your sleep partner even before you become aware of them. If you’ve received reports of loud snoring, sudden gasping for breath, or periods of time when you appear to stop breathing while you sleep, you might have sleep apnea.
Are there treatments that can help with sleep apnea?
Once your Respacare practitioner completes your diagnostic assessment, you begin to discuss treatment options that can help you breathe easier during sleep. There are several types of sleep studies that can help diagnose sleep apnea. Respacare also tracks your respiratory function and sleep duration using at-home sleep evaluation tools.
One of the most popular treatments for sleep apnea is a system called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
The treatment uses a small, portable machine that delivers a continuous stream of air through a mask you wear as you sleep. That ensures your airways remain open throughout the night.
There are several variations of traditional CPAP technology, including a BiPAP system that controls airflow during both inhalation and exhalation. Finding the right fit for your needs may take a process of trial and error. Respacare offers an in-house CPAP clinic to help you find the best system to meet your needs.
Custom oral appliances are another option for improving sleep apnea. These devices fit inside your mouth and bring your jaw slightly forward while sleeping, which helps keep your airway open.
If your sleep apnea is caused by an underlying medical condition, addressing that issue is a primary focus in your treatment plan. People who are carrying significant extra weight can often improve their nighttime breathing by moving closer to a healthy weight.
To learn more about sleep apnea, including treatment options, call Respacare today to book a visit or schedule online.
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