Dealing with sleep apnea? Wondering about your treatment options? Worried that your snoring could be sleep apnea? We know that millions of Americans are dealing with this serious sleep disorder and that many people don’t know it. If you have questions about sleep apnea, Dr. Tan and the ENT team at Tan Head and Neck Center are happy to answer them for you. Here are the top questions we’ve heard patients ask.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing throughout the night. These pauses can last anywhere from 10-20 seconds and can occur hundreds of times a night. The number of pauses that occur in one sleep cycle will determine the severity of your sleep apnea.
Why does sleep apnea need to be treated?
These pauses in breathing cause a loss of oxygen to the brain. As you might imagine, this condition can cause serious issues over time if left untreated. Apart from the drop in work performance, the foggy-headedness, the nasty mood swings, and the heightened risk for falling asleep at the wheel, untreated sleep apnea can also increase your risk for:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Atrial fibrillation
What are the warning signs and symptoms?
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of sleep apnea. You may not even realize you have sleep apnea but your partner might be able to recognize these symptoms. Signs of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic and loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing
- Gasping or choking for breath at night
- Tossing and turning and interrupted sleep
- Morning headaches
- Brain fog
- Trouble concentrating
- Extreme daytime fatigue
- Falling asleep in the middle of the day
- Needing to nap frequently
- Decreased sex drive
If you are experiencing these symptoms it’s important that you turn to our ENT team right away to find out if you could be dealing with sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The type and severity of your sleep apnea will dictate how we treat it. There are certain lifestyle adjustments such as losing weight and quitting smoking that can improve your symptoms; however, the best way to manage your sleep apnea is with CPAP therapy, a device that keeps your airways open while you sleep. Those with mild to moderate forms of obstructive sleep apnea may be able to control their symptoms with a simple oral appliance.
If you suspect that you’re dealing with sleep apnea, or if you want to discuss ways to manage your symptoms to improve your health and sleep, our Long Beach, CA, ENT doctor Dr. Tan is here to help. To schedule a consultation, call Tan Head and Neck Center at (562) 988-8818.