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What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when tissue blocks part or all your upper airway while you sleep. It makes your diaphragm and chest muscles have to work harder to open your airway and pull air into your lungs. Your breath can become very shallow, or you may even stop breathing briefly. You usually start to breathe again with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk.

In adults, the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight and obesity, which is associated with increased amounts of soft tissue of the mouth and throat. During sleep, when throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, this soft tissue can easily block the airway.

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Observed episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day

Treatments

The most common obstructive sleep apnea treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP (SEE-pap). With this treatment, the weight of the air breathed is continuous, constant, and stronger than that of the surrounding air, which is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open. This air pressure prevents obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

Other treatments include changing your lifestyle to become healthier by cutting out unhealthy foods, drugs, and alcohol. Developing a consistent exercise and diet plan can help significantly decrease your symptoms.

For more information about sleep apnea treatment, set up an appointment with one of our professionals. We will make sure you are educated about the condition and have all of the tools you need to get a restful, healthy night’s sleep. Visit our website today to get started.

If you wish to talk to someone about obstructive sleep apnea, contact the Surgery Center of Fort Collins for more information. We do provide this care for patients, and it is often more affordable and less stressful to have it done at our ambulatory surgery center as opposed to a hospital setting. Call 970-821-8634 for more information or to schedule an appointment.