Could I Have Sleep Apnea?

Do you find yourself drowsy during the day, even though you had plenty of hours of good night sleep?

Is it difficult to sit quietly and read, watch television, or even drive without falling asleep?

Have you ever woken up during the night choking, and gasping for breath? Does your partner complain that you snore? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you could be suffering from sleep apnea.

More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. There are three basic sleep apnea classifications. In obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes obstructed and you are temporarily unable to breathe. This is often caused by the tissue in your soft palate.

In central sleep apnea, your brain “forgets” to signal your body to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea is when a patient suffers from both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous disease. It can cause hypertension, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, trouble remembering things, impotency and headaches. Falling asleep while at work or while driving can have serious consequences as well.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. A sleep study can be used to diagnose sleep apnea. During a sleep study, you will sleep in a sleep lab while connected to a variety of monitors that will give the doctor a picture of how well you sleep.

If you are found to have sleep apnea, you will probably be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP device to use at home while sleeping.