Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person frequently stops breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder that results in frequent drops in blood oxygen levels which can strain the heart and lungs, and lead to medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death in severe cases.
Think you might have sleep apnea? Click the Free Sleep Apnea Assessment below and receive a PDF copy that you can share with your doctor. This free assessment uses two screening tools, the "STOP-BANG" and the "Epworth Sleepiness Scale" to help find out if you are at risk for having sleep apnea, and measure how sleepy you are during your waking hours.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea G47.33 (OSA) - a quite common sleep disorder that occurs when the airway frequently becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. Sleep apnea can cause someone to stop breathing more than 100 times per hour in severe cases. Sleep apnea is considered life threatening.
Central Sleep Apnea G47.31 (CSA) - a less common sleep disorder that occurs when the muscles that control breathing do not receive the proper signals from the brain, resulting in periods of apnea during sleep.
Complex Sleep Apnea G47.37 (COMPSA) - is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor or give us a call at (318) 443-1684 and ask about getting screened. A sleep study can help confirm the diagnosis and lead to lifesaving treatment.
Common Health Problems associated with Sleep Apnea
- Snoring, waking gasping for breath, shortness of breath and choking during sleep
- Always sleepy/tired, dragging, fatigue, no energy, driving while sleepy, falling asleep without meaning to
- Insomnia, frequent tossing and turning, moving legs, unrestful sleep, need to urinate frequently during sleep periods
- Morning headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory problems, dementia, impotence
- Coronary artery disease, stroke, CHF, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, glaucoma
Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
For Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Lifestyle and positional changes. For mild cases of sleep apnea, changes that include weight loss and the cessation of smoking can provide significant benefit. In some cases, avoiding sleeping on your back can improve mild sleep apnea.
- eXciteOSA. This device works by providing electrical muscle stimulation action in sessions that consist of a series of electrical pulses with rest periods in between. It is used for 20 minutes once a day during a wakeful state, for a period of 6‐weeks, and once a week thereafter. Read more on our OSA Treatment page.
For Mild, Moderate and Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). PAP Therapy utilizes a small bedside medical device that blows filtered room air at a pressure through a mask that fits over your nose, or mouth and nose, while you sleep. The air pressure expands and holds the upper airway passages open, eliminating snoring and airway obstruction with results in sleep apnea. PAP therapy often fully resolves even the most severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.
- BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure). This is like CPAP but offers more complex settings and higher maximum pressure.
- Inspire Therapy. (For moderate and severe OSA only) This is an implantable pulse generator that detects the patient’s breathing pattern and maintains an open airway with mild nerve stimulation. Read more on our OSA Treatment page.
- Oral Appliance. Oral appliances are designed to keep your airway open during sleep by moving the jaw forward.
- Surgery. Surgery can be performed to remove tissue that vibrates causing snoring or to remove blockages that impede breathing. Procedures can include:
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This procedure removes tissue from the rear of the mouth and the top of the throat. Tonsils and adenoids can also be removed during this procedure. This surgery may be successful in stopping the structures in the throat from vibrating eliminating snoring. However, tissue farther down your throat may still block your air passage.
- Maxillomandibular advancement. This procedure includes removing upper and lower parts of the jaw to enlarge the space behind the tongue and soft palate moving the jaw forward. This complex procedure can reduce the possibility of an obstruction and may require both an oral surgeon as well as an orthodontist.
- Tracheostomy. You may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and if you have severe sleep apnea. In this procedure, an opening is made in your neck and a tube is inserted through which you breathe. The opening is kept covered during the day but uncovered at night to permit breathing without obstruction.
- Tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies. These procedures can be performed to remove enlarged tonsils or adenoids and may reduce the snoring that contributes to or causes sleep apnea.
- Nasal surgery. This surgery is used to remove polyps or to straighten nasal passages (deviated septum). It can help to improve breathing and contribute to the treatment of sleep apnea.
Treatments for Central and Complex Sleep Apnea
- Management of existing medical conditions. In some cases, neurologic (brain), pulmonary (lung), and cardiac (heart) diseases can be managed by a specialist to help treat CSA. Additionally certain medications are known to directly cause CSA, such as opioids.
- Supplemental oxygen. Supplemental oxygen may help with central sleep apnea in some cases.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). In some cases, central sleep apnea is improved with CPAP alone.
- Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP). BiPAP can help respiration rates and ventilation stay within normal limits by using a backup rate and other ancillary settings.
- Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). This is a type of BiPAP that learns your normal breathing pattern and uses adaptive settings to normalize your breathing during sleep. ASV is often effective in treating central sleep apnea when CPAP alone is insufficient.
Other types of Central Sleep Apnea
- Central Sleep Apnea with Cheyne-Stokes Respiration Breathing
- Central Apnea Due to a Medical Disorder without Cheyne-Stokes Breathing
- Central Sleep Apnea Due to High Altitude Periodic Breathing
- Central Sleep Apnea Due to a Medication or Substance
- Primary Central Sleep Apnea of Infancy
- Primary Central Sleep Apnea of Prematurity
If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, try our free Sleep Apnea Assessment and contact Red River Sleep Center at (318) 443-1684 to request an evaluation with a Sleep Specialist, or talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask about a referral to Red River Sleep Center for a screening assessment.