Sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that restricts breathing patterns during sleep, disrupting the normal five stages, especially the important deep, REM sleep stage.
Lately, more and more research has been surrounding sleep medicine, as medical professionals are finding sleep disorders and deprivation to be linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease. Untreated sleep apnea, in particular, has been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality.
Consistent snoring is a major indicator of sleep apnea. Individuals with sleep apnea may also have trouble sleeping in certain positions, experience daytime sleepiness or feel that their sleep wasn’t refreshing.
The disorder is commonly seen in individuals who are overweight or obese and/or have a thick neck.
Fortunately, sleep apnea is a completely treatable disorder, commonly treated with the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. While CPAP therapy remains the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, individuals who have trouble complying with CPAP therapy can discuss other treatment options, such as nasal valves and oral appliances, with their doctor.
If you are experiencing signs of sleep apnea, it is extremely important to discuss the condition with your doctor. By detecting and treating sleep apnea early, a myriad of cardiovascular diseases and other serious health conditions can be prevented or decreased. The Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) is dedicated to detecting sleep disorders and providing exceptional care to patients suffering from sleep disorders throughout the community.
Dr. Clint Young is a pulmonary medicine specialist and the medical director of Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center. Dr. Young serves as a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He is a 1974 graduate of the University of Virginia Medical Center. Dr. Young completed his residency at University of South Carolina and his fellowship at University of Arizona Health Sciences Center.