Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing for short periods during sleep. This disruption in breathing can occur as often as 5 to 30 times an hour and can last anywhere from 10 seconds to 1 minute. It is usually noticed by a bed partner, who hears the individual stop breathing and start again. There are two main types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). OSA is more commonly diagnosed and occurs when air flow is reduced or cut off due to partial blockage of the airway.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most common symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, depression or irritability
  • Waking up often to urinate

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Studies have shown that there are certain risk factors that make a person more likely to develop Sleep Apnea. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Using sedatives or sleeping pills
  • Drinking alcohol, particularly before bedtime
  • Having large tonsils or a large tongue
  • Old age
  • Having a family history of Sleep Apnea

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnea

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have Sleep Apnea, it is important to seek medical attention. A doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who can provide diagnosis and treatment. Sleep Apnea is usually diagnosed through a sleep study, which is a test that records your sleep patterns overnight. Treatment options for Sleep Apnea vary depending on the severity of the condition, but may include:

  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help keep your airway open during sleep
  • Oral appliance to help keep your airway open during sleep
  • Weight loss if you are overweight
  • Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills
  • Surgery to remove tissue that is blocking the airway


Sleep Apnea is a serious condition that can have negative health consequences if left untreated. If you suspect you or someone you know may have Sleep Apnea, it is important to seek medical attention for diagnosis and treatment. With proper management of Sleep Apnea, you can get more restful sleep and improve your quality of life.