Obstructive sleep apnea is the top cause of a poor night's sleep, affecting 18 million Americans. Hormonal changes, weight and family history can cause this disorder, which obstructs air flow to the lungs, resulting in fragmented sleep. Unfortunately, many people with sleep apnea do not realize they are having trouble breathing at night because they quickly fall back asleep after gasping for breath. Excessive sleepiness during the day, an inability to wake up feeling alert, morning headaches and even depression are symptoms of this disorder.
While it may seem like the only problem sleep apnea causes is sleepiness, new research suggests that it is also responsible for a host of other serious conditions, such as hypertension, stroke, obesity and neurocognitive disorders.
Treating Sleep Apnea
The SLUCare Sleep Disorders Center offers a variety of approaches for dealing with obstructive sleep apnea.
One popular and effective treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP, a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. Patients with more severe cases may benefit from minimally invasive surgical procedures or dental appliances to reposition the lower lip and tongue.
Call (314) 97-SLEEP to schedule a consultation if you think you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea.