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Sleep apnea affects millions of men and women, increasing the risk of serious medical issues. At Self Care LA, our specialists help patients with sleep apnea in Los Angeles, Playa Vista and West Hollywood, CA, manage their sleep apnea with state-of-the-art care aimed at treating the condition and lowering related health risks.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea (also called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA) is a serious medical condition that causes sleep to be interrupted many times in a single night – sometimes hundreds of times – and often without the person even knowing their sleep is being interrupted. It occurs when the airway becomes momentarily blocked, causing respiration to suddenly stop. As the person becomes more alert, breathing resumes, often accompanies by a snorting or gasping sound. Snoring is a major symptom of sleep apnea, although not all snoring is related to apnea. The condition occurs when the tissues at the back of the throat become lax and more prone to descend into the airways when you reach a state of deep relaxation. Apnea is more common with age and it’s also more common among people who are overweight or obese, but it can also occur in people who are younger and of normal body weight.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
In addition to snoring and gasping for breath during the night, sleep apnea can also result in excessive daytime sleepiness, problems concentrating and focusing, and mood changes like irritability. It’s also been associated with an increased risk for serious medical issues, including depression, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
Treatment begins with a physical exam, often accompanied by a sleep study to measure respiration and other physical signs while you sleep. Once OSA is diagnosed, several treatments are available, including laser treatments to tighten loose tissues in the back of the throat, mouth guards to gently shift the lower jaw forward during sleep to keep airways open, and CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure – which uses a mask to deliver a continual stream of air aimed at preventing airways from becoming blocked.