Around 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes the soft tissues at the back of your mouth and throat to relax and block your airway while you sleep. If you snore and suffer from daytime fatigue, make an appointment at Flagstaff Surgical Associates in Flagstaff, Arizona. The physicians offer expert diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea, ranging from lifestyle adjustments to surgery. Call Flagstaff Surgical Associates or schedule a consultation online today.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while you’re sleeping. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea; others include central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your soft palate and other tissue at the back of your mouth relax while you sleep and descends into your airways, stopping your breath. This causes you to snore and snort, waking yourself up to clear your airways. These obstructions can occur as many as 30 times an hour throughout the night.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the correct signals to keep you breathing.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea syndrome occurs when you have a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. Your partner is more likely to notice if you snore, choke, or gasp for air while you sleep. Other signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Reduced concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath

When left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to health issues, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems. Sleep apnea can also put a strain on your relationships as anyone who sleeps near you will be disturbed by your snoring, too.

What causes sleep apnea?

Many factors contribute to sleep apnea. For example, if you’re overweight or have a large neck circumference, you have an increased risk of sleep apnea. You might also have a narrow airway. If you smoke or use alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers, you have a higher risk of sleep apnea.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Flagstaff Surgical Associates provides customized treatment plans for sleep apnea. Your doctor might recommend weight loss or using a mouthpiece or refer you to a Pulmonary/Sleep Specialist to discuss using a breathing device like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help you breathe throughout the night.

In other cases, you might benefit from a surgery to remove your tonsils or adjust the position of your uvula. You might also benefit from nasal surgery to improve your nasal airway breathing.

The surgeons at Flagstaff Surgical Associates have many years of experience and use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to provide the best possible outcome.

Flagstaff Surgical Associates also offers bariatric surgeries. If your weight is a contributing factor to your sleep apnea, your surgeon might recommend a bariatric procedure to help you lose weight.

If you’re concerned about sleep apnea, call Flagstaff Surgical Associates, or make an appointment online today.