Sleep apnea causes daytime fatigue and makes it hard to concentrate, but the problems don’t stop there. When sleep apnea goes untreated, it can lead to serious problems like high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., has extensive experience in helping patients prevent complications with effective sleep apnea treatment. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Tarzana, California, or use the online booking feature.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when you stop breathing while you sleep. These apnea episodes last for 10 seconds or longer, and they’re frequently repeated throughout the night.
If you stop breathing 5-15 times an hour, you have mild OSA. In severe cases, you can have 30 or more apnea episodes every hour while you sleep.
OSA occurs when soft tissues in your mouth, such as your tongue and soft palate, relax and fall toward the back of your throat. When this happens, they partially or completely cover your airway. Snoring is caused by a partially covered airway. If the airway is completely covered, you stop breathing.
Every time you stop breathing, oxygen levels in your blood drop and your brain nudges you to breathe again. You usually don’t wake up to resume breathing, so you’re not aware you have OSA.
When you have sleep apnea, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
You’re probably not aware of your snoring, but others in your household will notice a cycle of loud snoring, silence when you stop breathing, and then a gasp or snort when you take a breath.
The only way to know for sure whether you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. Sleep studies can be done at home or in a sleep lab.
A home sleep study measures oxygen levels, breathing, and air flow while you sleep. The data is stored on a small monitor and downloaded so Dr. Fink can see if you have apnea episodes, and if so, how frequently they occur.
When you go to a lab, they collect the same information plus they record your heart rate, brain waves, eye movements, and muscle movements.
If you have mild sleep apnea and you’re overweight, losing weight may eliminate the problem. If your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, Dr. Fink may recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or an oral appliance.
CPAP delivers air through a mask, creating enough pressure to keep your airway open. When you wear a customized oral appliance, it holds your jaw and tongue in a forward position so your tongue can’t cover the airway.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., or book an appointment online.