Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which a person experiences intermittent pauses in their breathing as they sleep. A common form of sleep apnea known as obstructive sleep apnea results from the airway becoming blocked during sleep, which is usually caused by enlarged tissues in the back of the throat or by the throat muscles or tongue becoming too relaxed.
Thankfully, sleep apnea is treatable. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have sleep apnea.
• Loud snoring
• Frequent nighttime awakenings, particularly those where you wake up short of breath, gasping or choking
• Excessive fatigue during the day
To determine whether you have sleep apnea, a doctor or dentist will first ask about your personal and family history. They will examine your mouth and throat for physical signs of the condition. If an enlarged uvula or soft palate is seen, for example, this can be an indication of a problem. A sleep study may be performed to monitor your behavior during sleep. Sleep studies provide the most accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can be fatal, so it is vitally important that those with this condition are properly diagnosed and treated. If you think you may have sleep apnea, our expert in sleep apnea in North Hollywood can help.