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Sleep Apnea / Snoring

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Sleep Apnea

A disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing during sleep. Each lapse in breathing can last ten seconds to multiple minutes, and may occur 5 to 30+ times an hour. This disorder prevents deep sleep that refreshes the body, and sufferers are frequently drowsy during the day.

Types of Sleep Apnea
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    The most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the airway is obstructed, most often by soft tissue located in the back of the throat. This causes the throat to close during sleep.

  • Central Sleep Apnea

    This occurs when your central nervous system fails to deliver signals from the brain to your muscles that regulate breathing.

  • Mixed/Complex Sleep Apnea

    This type of sleep apnea is a combination of the previous two types.


To diagnosis sleep apnea, several factors will be considered: medical history, family history, a physical exam, and a sleep study. A sleep study will require you to stay overnight at a sleep center where your functions will be constantly monitored overnight.


The severity of the case of sleep apnea will determine the treatment given. In mild cases, the patient may simply be directed to stop smoking or lose weight. In severe cases, use of a CPAP machine or surgery may be needed.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Oftentimes, an individual with sleep apnea is unaware of having difficulty breathing, even after waking up short of breath. Others witnessing the individual during episodes usually reveal the problem.

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, we would be happy to refer you to a sleep apnea specialist.

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Slower reaction time
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty paying attention or working effectively
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at nght short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night
  • Headaches in the morning


According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 45% of adults snore. At least 25% of them consistently snore as they sleep, which can qualify as a sleep disorder.

When air flow through the nose is obstructed, snoring results. This obstruction can be caused by a variety of issues, including a deviated septum, polyps, tissues in the back of the mouth, long palate, or long uvula.

If the only problem is noisy breathing, there are new, simple procedures available that have been proven to provide optimum results. When snoring problems are more complex, a more thorough examination will have to be conducted to rule out more dangerous sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

Following a complete medical history and physical exam, your ENT specialist will be able to determine the best course of treatment for you. For some, simple lifestyle changes can help stop snoring, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol consumption close to bedtime and sleeping on your side. While for others, oral appliances CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices or surgery may be necessary to prevent snoring.

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