Sleep apnea is a condition when your breathing stops and starts throughout the whole night. It can leave you feeling tired and sluggish all day.
Sleep apnea is also associated with severe health issues.
Here's what you need to know about this common health problem, and how UPMC can help.
Make an appointment at 412-692-2880 or fill out a UPMC Sleep Medicine Center appointment request.
Sleep apnea is a type of breathing disorder.
People with this condition stop breathing for short periods (10 seconds or more) while they sleep. They may not even know that their breathing at night isn't normal.
Sleep apnea is common. About 26% of all Americans have some form of sleep apnea. The true number may be more than that because many cases may go undetected.
More men than women have sleep apnea. It's also more common in people who are overweight.
Obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk of getting health problems, such as:
There are two types of sleep apnea.
OSA is the most common type.
It happens when your:
Once your brain senses the problem, you startle awake — snorting, choking, or gasping for air.
CSA happens when the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that help with breathing.
It's often found in people with other health problems, like heart failure or stroke.
Risk factors for sleep apnea depend on which type you have.
If your bed partner notices that you stop breathing for periods during sleep, you should see a doctor.
You should also get checked for sleep apnea if you:
UPMC sleep medicine experts will first ask about your symptoms. They'll look at your medical history and do a physical exam.
Depending on the first exam, your doctor may want you to have a sleep study. During the sleep study, you'll stay overnight at the hospital.
A sleep technician will place sensors on your chest, belly, face, scalp, and legs. These sensors track brain waves and your breathing to learn your stages of sleep and breathing at night.
While you sleep, they will detect:
During your overnight stay, a camera will also record your movements while you're sleeping.
UPMC Sleep Medicine experts are leaders in the field and offer a range of up-to-date treatments for sleep apnea.
Your treatment may depend on how severe your condition is.
Your doctor may suggest you make lifestyle changes.
Mild sleep apnea may get better if you:
If your sleep apnea is more serious, you may need more than making lifestyle changes.
Some treatment options are:
You'll have regular follow-up visits where our team will check your progress and see if treatments are working for you.
There are many types of sleep apnea surgeries. Your UPMC sleep medicine doctor will talk to you about which one might be best.
With proper treatment for sleep apnea, you can start getting a good night's sleep and feeling more like yourself again.
Call 412-692-2880 or fill out a UPMC Sleep Medicine Center appointment request form.