Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
- Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.
How can Dr. Roksar help with my sleep apnea or snoring?
Dr. Roksar can evaluate you for sleep apnea and/or snoring. Usually severe sleep apnea is treated with a CPAP machine. If a patient cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, Dr. Roksar can fabricate a custom sleeping nightguard to help reduce the apena or decrease snoring.
What is a CPAP machine?
The CPAP machine is basically a small box which has a motorized fan inside. This fan very quietly draws air from the room, gently pressurizes it, then delivers it at a setting specific to your needs.
The air intake section of the CPAP machine has a filter on it to eliminate the intake of dust, smoke, or other impurities in the air. This filter can be replaced as necessary.
Another key part of the CPAP machine is the humidification chamber built into the box. This is where water is warmed to humidify the pressurized air before it is delivered. Warm, moist air soothes your nasal and upper airway passages and helps prevent swelling and discomfort that can sometimes occur while using the therapy. Although using humidification is optional, it brings relief for the majority of patients using CPAP therapy who live in dry or arid climates or who wake up with a dry mouth, nasal passages, or throat. The humidification chamber is pretty easy to keep clean and should last the lifetime of the machine itself.
Attached to the CPAP machine is a hose which connects the box to the mask. This flexible, lightweight tubing is also typically heated to reduce any condensation that might collect inside it while the humidifier is in use. The hose is long enough—around 6 feet—to give you full movement during sleep. Hoses can wear out over time and should be replaced as necessary.
Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being male
- Being overweight
- Being over age 40
- Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
- Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
- Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
- Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.