We apply the latest scientific knowledge to diagnose and treat patients
Chronic problems with sleeping and waking can seriously affect a person’s happiness and health. As a result of sleep research, it is now possible to diagnose and treat many sleep disorders. At Millennium Sleep Clinic, we apply the latest scientific knowledge to diagnose and treat patients who have problems with sleeping and alertness. Sleep studies are tests that watch what happens to your body during sleep. The studies are done to find out what is causing your sleep problems. Sleep is essential to your health, safety and quality of life. If you are not getting enough sleep or you are having difficulty sleeping, talk with your doctor and get help. Most sleep problems and sleep disorders can be diagnosed and are treatable in safe and effective ways.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe when you’re sleeping. In untreated sleep apnea, breathing is briefly interrupted or becomes very shallow during sleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur up to hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.
This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain. But with treatment you can control the symptoms, get your sleep back on track, and start enjoy being refreshed and alert every day.
Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms
It can be tough to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most prominent symptoms only occur when you’re asleep. But you can get around this difficulty by asking a bed partner to observe your sleep habits, or by recording yourself during sleep.
Major Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If pauses occur while you snore, and if choking or gasping, follow the pauses, these are major signs that you have sleep apnea.
Another common sign of sleep apnea is fighting sleepiness during the day, at work, or while driving. You may find yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiet moments of the day when you're not active. Even if you don't have daytime sleepiness, talk with your doctor if you have problems breathing during sleep.
Other Common Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Morning headaches
- Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
- Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
- Waking up frequently to urinate
- Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
Tired of being tired?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is becoming more and more common, but its threat can be greatly diminished through education and awareness. If you think you have Sleep Apnea, you may undergo a sleep study to verify the existence of the condition. If you do have Sleep Apnea, a wide variety of treatment options are available that will help you get back off your feet, into bed and comfortably on your way to a good night’s sleep!
Sleep Disorder FAQs
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes soft tissue in the rear of the throat to narrow and repeatedly close during sleep. The brain responds to each of these “apnea events” by waking the person in order to resume breathing. Since apnea events can happen hundreds of times each night, sleep becomes broken and ineffective.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea can be treated in a number of different ways. The type of treatment is usually decided upon based on balancing the severity of symptoms against desirability of therapy. Clearly, a less symptomatic person will wish a less aggressive form of therapy.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP consists of a portable machine that blows pressurized air through a mask that is worn over the nose. The pressurized air holds the airway open and thus prevents apneas. CPAP is extremely effective, but since it can be a bit cumbersome, a decision to use CPAP is dependent on balancing the severity of symptoms against lifestyle. However, because of its effectiveness, CPAP is the most common type of treatment for symptomatic sleep apnea.
Could I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea affects 18 million people and is more common among overweight males over age 40. It has also been known to affect otherwise healthy men, women and children of any age group. If you are frequently tired upon waking and throughout the day or if you have trouble staying asleep at night, ask yourself these questions:
- I’ve been told that I snore.
- I’ve been told that I stop breathing when I sleep, although I don’t remember this when I wake up.
- I have high blood pressure.
- My friends and family say they have noticed changes in my personality.
- I am gaining weight.
- I sweat excessively during the night.
- I have noticed my heart pounding or beating irregularly during the night.
- I get morning headaches.
- I have trouble sleeping when I have a cold.
- I suddenly wake up gasping for breath during the night.
- I am overweight.
- I feel sleepy during the day even though I slept through the night.
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you could have sleep apnea, and it is important that you discuss such symptoms with your doctor.
Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Excess weight
- A large neck
- A recessed chin
- Male sex
- Abnormalities in the structure of the upper airway
- Ethnicity (African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Mexicans)
- Smoking and alcohol use
Sleep apnea can affect both males and females of all ages and weight, including children.