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Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a health condition characterized by a repetitive stopping or slowing of breathing that can occur hundreds of times during the night. This often leads to poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness. Risks of untreated sleep apnea include high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and motor vehicle accidents. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have at least mild OSA.

A variety of treatment options are available for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.  Medical options include positive pressure (i.e. CPAP), oral appliances, and weight loss.  Many of these treatment options depend on regular, long-term adherence to be effective.  In patients having difficulty with other treatments, surgical procedures for the nose and throat can be a beneficial alternative. Surgical therapy can also be effective when used as an adjunct to improve tolerance and success with CPAP or an oral appliance.

Those who have OSA are often unaware of their condition and think they sleep well because they do not remember waking up. The symptoms that usually lead people to seek help are daytime drowsiness or complaints of snoring and breathing problems observed by a partner. OSA symptoms may include:

  • Snoring with pauses in breathing
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor judgment/trouble focusing
  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime chest pain
  • Depression
  • Problems with excess weight
  • Large neck (17" around in men, 16" around in women)
  • Airway crowding
  • Morning headaches
  • Reduced libido
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom at night