Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder where the airway collapses during sleep, disrupting the normal five stages of sleep, especially REM, which is the deepest and most important stage.
Obstructive sleep apnea afflicts at least 25 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. With more research in the field of sleep medicine, 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 the 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 a sense of non-refreshing sleep. 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. 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.
Our area is fortunate as Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center in Greensboro and Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center in Reidsville are dedicated to detecting sleep disorders and providing exceptional care to patients suffering from sleep disorders throughout the community. To learn more, visit http://www.conehealth.com/services/sleep-disorders/.
Dr. Rakesh Alva is a pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at LeBauer Pulmonary Care, and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Alva is a 1997 graduate of Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowships in critical care and pulmonary medicine in 2004 at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Alva is also board-certified in sleep medicine.