Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) makes a restful night of sleep virtually impossible.  In OSA, the afflicted  individual continues to make the effort to breathe but his/her upper airway has narrowed sufficiently/collapsed to the point that air cannot pass (“is obstructed”)  from the nose and mouth into the lungs.

OSA occurs in men and women and is more common in men.  Post-menopausal women manifest increasing rates of OSA.  Approximately 1 in 4 adults is at risk.  The most common symptoms of OSA are loud snoring and severe sleepiness/fatigue during the day. Many individuals afflicted with OSA  blame their sleepiness/fatigue on “getting old” and are happily surprised when they experience the greatly improved energy/alertness that typically follows effective  treatment.

The main symptoms of OSA are loud snoring, waking up gasping/choking,  morning headaches, dry mouth or sore throat upon awakenings, frequent awakenings to urinate,  feeling groggy/unrested upon final awakening,  excessive daytime sleepiness/fatigue, memory decrements, and difficulty concentrating.

Untreated OSA has serious health consequences, including but not limited to increasing risk for high blood pressure, heart attack,  and stroke, as well as diabetes, obesity, and other aspects of “Metabolic Syndrome.”

How do you know if you have obstructive sleep apnea?

It’s easy to find out if you are afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea.  Our Center has accredited sites in Weslaco and McAllen offering recording of your sleep.  Our modern, safe, and secure sleep lab sites will record your brain waves, eye movements, muscle activity,  breathing effort and airflow, blood oxygen level, heart rate and rhythm, the duration of your stages of sleep, body positions, and movements of your arms and legs while sleeping. Once your sleep study is complete and has been scored, your Sleep Specialist will analyze the results to determine whether you are afflicted with sleep apnea, and the most effective forms of treatment.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are many treatment options available for patients to choose from, so we’ll help you understand your options so that the most effective treatment can be provided.  Millions of people have found effective sleep apnea treatment from a device called CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. There are different styles of CPAP, but they all utilize the same basic principal of using a small amount of air pressure to overcome the blockage of your airway by the apnea episodes.  We’ll explain the different types of masks and CPAP devices to help find the device that best fits your lifestyle and the severity of your sleep apnea.

In addition to CPAP,  lifestyle changes can positively impact sleep apnea, including weight loss, quitting tobacco, alcohol and sedatives, and even changes to your sleep positions.

Some sleep apnea patients find effective relief from a specially made mouthpiece called a mandibular advancement device. Although not always as effective as a CPAP device, oral appliances are an excellent way to treat snoring, and are preferred by some patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea as an effective  way to eliminate/decrease snoring.

Surgical options – Sometimes, obstructive sleep apnea is so severe CPAP devices and oral appliances are not effective.  Sometimes surgical procedures and/or medication(s) are required  to help mitigate the most severe cases of OSA.

You may find additional helpful health information at one of these websites: