Has your snoring landed you a spot on the couch more nights than you’d like to count? Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea, a condition that’s both a nuisance for your partner and a risk to your long-term health. At Brighton Family Medicine in Henderson, Nevada, Sungwook Steven Kim, MD treats sleep apnea so you can get a good night’s sleep (and back in your bed). To learn more about sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim at Brighton Family Medicine online or by telephone today.
People with sleep apnea have shallow or paused breathing while sleeping. After these pauses, they catch their breath with grunts or snorts, often waking themselves and their partner. Breathing pauses can occur up to thirty or more times an hour.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common variety, occurs when the airway is blocked by the collapse of soft tissue at the back of the throat during sleep. Snoring occurs when air tries to squeeze through those blocked pathways.
Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea usually don’t snore.
The result, in either case, is that people with sleep apnea don’t get enough restorative sleep, leaving them groggy and tired the next day. Over time, this can lead to serious health problems, increasing the risk of:
Dr. Kim orders a sleep study if your symptoms and sleep patterns suggest sleep apnea. Sleep studies happen in a sleep lab or at home with specialized equipment. Over the course of at least six hours of sleep, you are monitored for:
Doctors look primarily for your apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) number which measures paused and constricted breaths. Higher AHI numbers correlate with more severe sleep apnea.
Dr. Kim partners with your sleep specialist for the best course of treatment. Losing weight, avoiding alcohol or medication before bed, and changing your sleeping position help to improve sleep apnea.
Many patients also benefit from a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which is a machine attached to a mask that you wear over your nose when sleeping. It continuously pumps air into your nose to keep your airway open. By preventing frequent, disruptive pauses in breathing, you achieve deep, restful sleep.
Sleep apnea impacts your ability to function at your best and increases the risk of many serious health conditions. Schedule an appointment with Dr.Kim at Brighton Family Medicine in Henderson, Nevada, online or by telephone to take the first step toward a good night’s sleep.