Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when you temporarily stop breathing while you sleep. Your breathing is interrupted when throat muscles relax enough to block the flow of air from the mouth and nose into the lungs.
The pauses in breathing can last a few seconds or minutes, until levels of oxygen in your blood get low enough that your brain intercedes and wakes you up just enough to breathe. You can also stop breathing 30 times or more every hour.
The two most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
Loud snoring, often with pauses in snoring when breathing stops: Snoring doesn’t always mean you have sleep apnea, but it’s a typical symptom. Since you don’t realize you’re snoring, family members and partners are usually the first ones to notice the problem.
Excessive daytime sleepiness: If you find yourself fighting sleep during the day, at work, or when you’re driving, please consult Dr. Boulware to see if you might have sleep apnea.
You may also experience other symptoms such as:
During the time after you stop breathing and before you finally take a breath, your blood pressure and heart rate rise. Since this happens many times a night, it puts stress on your heart. Over time, you may develop high blood pressure, arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), and heart failure.
Obstructive sleep apnea also is associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems. People with sleep apnea may have a higher chance of complications following major surgery.
Treatment for sleep apnea begins by examining lifestyle changes that may relieve the problem. Losing weight, sleeping on your side, and avoiding alcohol at night are three steps that often yield positive results.
Dr. Boulware may also recommend one of the following:
Custom-fitted mouthpiece: Holds your lower jaw and tongue in a specific position to prevent the throat from closing while you sleep.
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP: Consists of a mask that goes over your mouth and nose, which is attached to a machine that blows air into your throat. The pressure from the air helps keep your airway open.
At Boulware Medical Clinic, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed here. We do not accept insurance for cosmetic procedures at Beautification by Boulware