Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep. People who have sleep apnea will stop breathing repeatedly throughout their sleep cycle. This disruption in a person’s breathing pattern may cause the brain to not get enough oxygen. If you snore loudly and feel tired during the day after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

Learn More About Sleep Disorders

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the most common form of sleep apnea caused by the muscles in the throat relaxing. When these muscles relax, the breathing airway narrows or closes with inhalation, restricting the amount of air into the body and lowering the amount of oxygen in the blood. When the brain senses this, it sends a signal to the body to wake up in order to get more oxygen.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when a partial or complete blockage develops in the back of the throat or in the nasal passages when muscles relax during sleep. This results in snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation attributes 38,000 cardiovascular deaths a year due to OSA. People with OSA increase their risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease or traffic accidents. Memory problems, weight gain and impotency have been linked to the disorder.

If you’re diagnosed with OSA

There are several treatment approaches for patients with OSA. Your doctor may prescribe breathing equipment to provide continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Surgery of the upper airways and special dental appliances are other treatment options.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the correct signals to the breathing muscles. With this type of sleep apnea, breathing will stop and the body will not respond appropriately. This causes people to wake up and be short of breath or have difficulty getting back to sleep.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring (typically associated with obstructive sleep apnea)
  • When breathing stops during sleep
  • Waking up abruptly along with shortness of breath (typically associated with central sleep apnea)
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Experiencing headaches in the morning
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Irritability

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

In order to diagnose sleep apnea, your sleep specialist will perform a sleep evaluation to determine your waking patterns and which type of sleep apnea you may have to build an appropriate treatment plan.

To schedule a sleep evaluation, you must first have a physician's order. If you already have a physician's order, you may schedule a sleep evaluation online at any of our 11 Houston-area locations.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

There are many sleep therapy device options to help aid in sleep apnea. Learn more about Sleep Apnea Treatment »

Contact Us for A Better Night Sleep

If you or a loved one are showing signs of a sleep disorder, there are many effective surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available.

To find out more about sleep disorders, to make an appointment with a sleep specialist, or to find out more about scheduling a sleep study, call (713) 222-CARE or fill out the form below.

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