Adult Sleep Apnea

Do you snore at night? Do you wake up still feeling tired? If so, you might have sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is a common disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted while you are asleep.  There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Central Sleep Apnea.  Both forms are extremely serious, and should not be left untreated.  

If you think you may have sleep apnea, please call our office or your general care physician for a possible evaluation.  

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is what happens when the airflow is blocked while you are asleep.  It is the more common of the two forms of sleep apnea, and usually occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat (the tongue for example) collapse.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is not a blocked airway, but is actually a neurological problem.  In this form of sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles.  This type of sleep apnea can be linked to heart failure, strokes, brain tumors, and infections.

Who Can Get Sleep Apnea?

While men are more likely to develop sleep apnea, it can affect anyone at any age, including children.  For more about sleep apnea in kids, please visit our Pediatric Sleep Apnea page.

Risk Factors & Side Effects

You may be at greater risk of sleep apnea if you:

  • are over 40 years old
  • are overweight
  • have large tonsils, a large tongue, and/or a small jaw
  • have a family history of sleep apnea
  • have a nasal obstruction related to allergies, sinus problems, or a deviated septum

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a wide variety of other health concerns, including, but not limited to:

  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • heart failure, irregular heartbeat and/or heart attack
  • diabetes
  • depression
  • worsening of ADHD
  • gastric reflux


There are several treatment options for sleep apnea.  These include:

  • Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)- A CPAP is a device which improves breathing while you sleep. The device supplies air through the nasal passages and the air pressure keeps the airway open while sleeping.
  • Oral Appliances- Certain oral devices can shift and support the jaw to prevent the airway from collapsing. Research shows that oral appliances can successfully prevent sleep apnea in some mild to moderate cases.
  • Adjusting Sleeping Habits- This may mean simply not sleeping on your back
  • Surgery- In some cases, upper airway surgery may be recommended when other treatment options are unsuccessful in eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea. The procedure may be minimally invasive or more complex depending on the location and nature of the airway obstruction.  

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