Obstructive sleep apnea is more common than you may realize, affecting 24% of men and 9% of women aged 30-60 years. Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, has extensive experience treating sleep apnea and helping you get the restorative sleep you need to stay healthy. When sleep apnea goes untreated, it causes significant health problems, including high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and weight gain, so don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call one of the offices in Beverly Hills and Inglewood, California, or schedule an appointment online.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when your breathing repeatedly stops while you sleep. You have mild sleep apnea when your breathing stops 5-15 times every hour. In severe cases, your breathing stops 30 times or more per hour.
Sleep apnea develops when the airway at the back of your throat is temporarily blocked. The problem is caused by the soft tissues in your mouth, such as your tongue, as well as those surrounding your throat. When you sleep, these tissues relax and naturally fall toward the airway.
When the airway is partially blocked, the tissues vibrate and cause snoring. You stop breathing when the airway is totally blocked by soft tissues. The immediate drop in oxygen alerts your brain, which wakes you just enough to restore breathing.
When you have sleep apnea, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
Your partner or others in the house may notice a cycle of loud snoring, silence when you stop breathing, then a sudden gasp or noise when you resume breathing.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a home or overnight sleep study. Dr. Sima may recommend an overnight study if he suspects a sleep disorder other than apnea.
During a home sleep study, you wear sensors that measure your breathing, airflow, and oxygen levels while you sleep. The information is recorded on a device, then Dr. Sima downloads and evaluates the data to diagnose the severity of your sleep apnea.
A mild case of sleep apnea may be treated with lifestyle changes or by treating the underlying problem. For example, losing weight when needed and eliminating the source of nasal congestion may eliminate your sleep apnea.
The preferred treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The CPAP device delivers constant air pressure through a mask that you wear while sleeping. The air pressure ensures your airway stays open.
An oral appliance is another treatment option for moderate sleep apnea and for patients who can’t tolerate CPAP. The appliance, a custom-fitted mouthguard, holds your jaw and tongue in a forward position, preventing it from falling back and covering the airway.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, or schedule an appointment online.