When you have sleep apnea, your breathing pauses while you sleep. This can happen many times each night. These pauses last 10-20 seconds. It is estimated that 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Chronic snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. If you snore often you should be evaluated by your health care provider. Sleep apnea can disturb sleep and can lead to low blood oxygen levels. Left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to:
There are both personal biology and personal behavior factors that can lead to sleep apnea.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, see a health care provider. One thing you can do to get ready for your appointment is make a sleep journal.
Keep a sleep journal, for at least a week. Each day write down:
This will help you health care provider decide the best care plan for you.
The best treatment for sleep apnea is usually determined after a thorough evaluation by a sleep specialist. Some people with sleep apnea benefit from making improvements to their overall health, like losing weight, or cutting down on alcohol use. Others will benefit from surgery to improve the airflow through the back of the throat. Some people will be advised to use simple nose masks while sleeping, as a way to improve the oxygen flow to the lungs.
If you feel you may have from sleep apnea, you should see a health care provider. There is no reason to continue to feel unrested and sleepy if there is some treatment that will make you feel better.
Schedule an appointment at Hall Health Center
If you are a current UW-Seattle student or an established Hall Health Center patient with questions, contact our Consulting Nurse service
Central sleep apnea. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Obstructive sleep apnea. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Authored by: Hall Health Center Health Promotion staff
Reviewed by: Hall Health Center Primary Care Clinic staff (KC), February 2014