At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience sleeping problems. Our center's programs are designed to help you start sleeping again.
Sleep apnea is characterized by having one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur many times per hour resulting in reduced oxygen to the brain and heart.
There are three distinct forms of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and complex (i.e., a combination of central and obstructive) constituting 0.4%, 84% and 15% of cases respectively. Breathing is interrupted by the lack of respiratory effort in central sleep apnea; in obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical blockage of airflow despite respiratory effort. In complex (or "mixed") sleep apnea, there is a transition from central to obstructive features during the events themselves.
Regardless of sleep apnea type, an individual is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance. Individuals with sleep apnea most commonly experience the following symptoms:
- Daytime Sleepiness
- Morning Headaches
- Nocturnal grinding of teeth
- High Blood pressure
- Memory impairment
- Inability to lose weight
Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, diabetes, and sleep deprived driving accidents. Stroke is associated with obstructive sleep apnea and sleep apnea sufferers also have a 30% higher risk of heart attack or premature death than those unaffected.
Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or a "sleep study". The recommended treatment options for Sleep Apnea are CPAP, Oral Appliances, Positional Sleep Therapy and surgery.