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Is snoring a problem?
Snoring is something that should be taken seriously, especially if you’re having symptoms of sleepiness during the day and or that someone has told you that when you sleep your snoring is very dramatic, associated with pauses in breathing. That’s a reason for evaluation for sleep.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing when you’re sleeping actually stops or is reduced. You may be breathing and then stop for 10 or more seconds and then start breathing again. Sleep apnea can be very dangerous. The heart is working harder and over the years this is a strain on the heart. It sometimes causes elevated blood pressure.
I know people who are young who have sleep apnea who seem to function fine. But over the years it takes a toll and they have a hard time doing their job. They have a hard time staying awake, they are subject to problems when they drive. They have a tendency to have difficulty with blood sugars so they may have early onset diabetes because of untreated sleep apnea.
What might indicate sleep apnea?
If you have a history of snoring throughout the night and you’re tired during the day, that would suggest that you probably have more than just snoring.
How is it treated?
The successful treatment for sleep apnea is use of a machine called the continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP; this is just applying air pressure through a mask that stents the back of the throat open.
How often will the CPAP machine be effective?
This will work almost 100 percent of the time if the obstruction in the nose and the throat is obvious.
What happens at a sleep center?
When a person goes for a sleep study at a sleep center where they’re being evaluated for their sleep and their breathing, most of the time we can do a diagnostic portion of the study, make the diagnosis and then apply the treatment so the patient when they leave the laboratory the next morning, they have a diagnosis and they have a treatment that’s gonna be effective and that all they need to do is to have the equipment delivered to their home and start wearing it.
What should I do if I think I might have sleep apnea?
If you think you’re having symptoms, discuss it with your primary doctor, and if they feel it's significant, refer you on to either an ear, nose and throat doctor, or perhaps a specialist in sleep disorders medicine.
For More Information
Sleep assessment is provided with physician referral only. To learn more, contact the Sleep Disorders Center directly, please call 619-740-4488.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about sleep disorders, visit Sleep Problems in Adult Health or read the Sleep Disorders News archive.