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Learn More about Sleep Apnea during Sleep Awareness Week

At the start of Daylight Savings Time, the National Sleep Foundation began celebrating its Sleep Awareness Week, from March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme – “Begin with Sleep” – emphasizes the importance of good sleep health and how it affects your personal, family and professional goals, overall wellbeing and safety. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you may be dealing with sleep apnea. Read on to learn more about this sleep disorder.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder which affects a person’s breathing. During sleep, an individual diagnosed with sleep apnea will repeatedly stop and start breathing. The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This disorder is caused by an airway blockage that happens when throat muscles collapse during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Less common than OSA, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.

While sleep apnea can occur at any age, certain factors put you more at risk for developing this sleep disorder. These include being male, overweight or over the age of 40, having a large neck size, possessing a family history of sleep apnea, sinus problems, allergies and other conditions.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of OSA and central sleep apnea include, but are not limited to:

  • Loud snoring
  • Awakening with a sore or dry throat
  • Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day or while driving
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, visit your primary care physician. They can help rule out other sleep disorders and determine if a sleep study is needed. At Carthage Area Hospital Sleep Center, our sleep disorder specialists and clinicians perform sleep studies four nights a week by referral only. If you have a doctor’s referral, call 315-493-2512 to make an appointment or to learn more about our state-of-the-art facility.