Feeling unrefreshed after sleeping and irritable during the day are signs that you could have sleep apnea. If you have symptoms like these, Theodore Gaylor, MD, and Mikhail Domnine, PA-C, at Cedar Crest ENT Associates in Allentown, Pennsylvania, can help. They can diagnose your condition with painless, at-home sleep monitoring to see how well you're sleeping at night. For effective solutions to sleep apnea, call Cedar Crest ENT Associates or book an appointment online today.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing stops on multiple occasions through the night, for a few seconds at a time.
In some cases, this is due to a neurological problem where your brain isn't sending the right signals to your breathing muscles. This condition — central sleep apnea — is relatively rare. Far more common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
With OSA, the muscles in your throat become too relaxed and stop supporting the soft palate — the area at the top of the back of your throat. Without support, your soft palate drops down, preventing air from passing into your windpipe and stopping your breathing.
At this point, your brain raises you from sleep so you start breathing again. You're unlikely to remember waking up as it happens so briefly, but it occurs repeatedly every night.
Sleep apnea affects your quality of sleep, so you feel tired and irritable when you're awake. You might find sleepiness overcomes you during the day, so you start falling asleep even when you're sitting up — potentially dangerous if you're driving.
A sore, dry throat and headaches, especially in the morning, are also common signs of sleep apnea. Your partner might tell you you're snoring heavily, and you could wake up choking or snorting.
One of the problems with sleep apnea is that you’re not aware of what's happening unless someone else is watching you, so people often live with the effects of sleep apnea for years.
If your provider at Cedar Crest ENT Associates suspects you have sleep apnea, they can fit you with a monitoring device for a home sleep study.
The process is noninvasive and painless. You simply wear the sleep monitor on your wrist at night and it records the levels of oxygen in your blood.
The following day, you return the sleep monitor to Cedar Crest ENT Associates for analysis.
One of the chief causes of sleep apnea is being overweight or obese, so weight loss can have a beneficial effect on your symptoms.
When weight loss alone isn't enough to resolve your sleep apnea, Cedar Crest ENT Associates can fit you with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. CPAP sends air under pressure down your throat as you sleep to stop the airway from closing.
To find out whether sleep apnea is affecting your health and get the treatment you need for a good night's sleep, call Cedar Crest ENT Associates today or book an appointment online.