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Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe when you are 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.

Sleep Apnea Diagram

Types of sleep apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing you to snore loudly.
  • Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.
  • Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Answer these STOP-BANG questions

Take 30 seconds to see if you are at risk.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

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.

Testing for Sleep Apnea

To find out if you have sleep apnea, take the STOP-BANG test to see if you are at risk for sleep apnea. If your risk is high, call us or stop in to book an appointment for a free “Level 3” sleep diagnostic test or a “Level 4” sleep screening test. Both sleep tests are used overnight in the comfort of your home.

A doctor’s referral is not required for testing, however it is good to have your physician involved, as the results are forwarded to him or her. Once the results have been reviewed, they are sent to your family or referring physician, and we notify you of the results directly.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and it works by blowing air through a special mask worn on your face to help keep the airway open while you sleep.

A prescription is required from your doctor in order to begin CPAP therapy. A prescription will also be required for any insurance reimbursement on any therapy equipment purchases.

Island Respiratory Specialists recommend a CPAP Therapy Trial when starting treatment.

Don’t lose good days to bad nights

Learn more about Sleep Apnea diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.