There’s far more to sleep apnea than being a cause of loud snoring because it makes you stop breathing altogether for multiple short periods every night. Felipe J. Martinez, MD, is an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) practice that uses advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to find out what’s causing your sleep apnea and helps you breathe properly when you’re asleep. To schedule an appointment, call the Coral Gables, West Miami, or Doral, Florida, office today or book an appointment online.
Sleep apnea is a problem that affects your breathing when you’re asleep. If you have sleep apnea, it means your breathing frequently stops throughout the night, potentially hundreds of times for brief periods. As a consequence, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen while you’re asleep.
Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health problems, such as:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA develops when the airway gets blocked, usually by the soft tissues in the back of your throat. As you sleep, the soft tissues relax across the airway, preventing you from breathing until your brain wakes you up.
Central sleep apnea is due to a neurological problem rather than a blockage. It happens because your brain isn’t telling your muscles to breathe.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
As you’re asleep, when you stop breathing, you might be unaware that it’s happening. Often, it’s your partner who notices that you aren’t breathing at times when you’re asleep.
To diagnose sleep apnea, Felipe J. Martinez MD offers a home sleep apnea test, which involves the use of a sleep monitoring device you wear while you’re asleep. This device measures your heart rate and the oxygen saturation in your blood to determine whether you’re getting enough oxygen, as well as your breathing patterns.
Many patients find the at-home sleep apnea test convenient and comfortable. Though it provides valuable information about your breathing while you sleep, the at-home sleep apnea test may not definitively diagnose or rule out sleep apnea. Therefore, you might need to undergo other studies, such as:
In some cases, you might need to spend a night at a sleep clinic that monitors you while you’re sleeping.
Initial treatments for sleep apnea might include lifestyle changes and other self-help measures, such as:
If these measures don’t help, Felipe J. Martinez MD might recommend trying a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. With CPAP, you wear a face mask that delivers air into your nose continually throughout the night. The constant airflow helps prevent the airway from blocking, so you don’t get starved of oxygen in the night.
An alternative is a dental device that helps keep your airway open when you’re asleep.
If these approaches aren’t working, or your sleep apnea is due to a problem such as a deviated nasal septum, small lower jaw, an overbite, or enlarged tonsils, you might need to undergo surgery. Surgeries that can help treat sleep apnea include:
If you’re having sleep problems, call Felipe J. Martinez MD today to schedule a sleep apnea consultation or book an appointment online.