Across the United States, more than 18 million Americans experience sleep apnea. Though sleep apnea is most often seen in overweight men past the age of 40, neurologists stress that anyone can suffer from this extremely common condition. However, because sleep apnea is apparent only when an individual is unconscious, it can frequently go undetected for months or years. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, contact a neurosurgery sleep center for help.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is the involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep. However, medical professionals have further classified this problem into three categories: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissue blocks a person’s airway and ability to breathe while sleeping. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to signal body muscles to breathe. As its name implies, mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the other two conditions. No matter the cause, sleep apnea symptoms may include persistent drowsiness, morning headache and dry mouth, and multiple sleep disruptions.
What problems can develop from sleep apnea?
When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications. Doctors caution that patients seek immediate medical care if they suspect that they have sleep apnea, as it can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression.
What treatment methods are available for sleep apnea?
Only a doctor can accurately diagnose sleep apnea by placing the patient in a sleep laboratory or sleep study. Once the condition and its cause are identified, treatment can be administered. For many individuals, weight loss is a highly effective means to alleviating sleep apnea. Depending on the severity and nature of the issue, your doctor may also advise the use of a nasal decongestant, oral appliance, breathing mask, positional therapy, and in some cases, surgery.
Illinois Neurological Institute offers successful medical care for individuals suffering from sleep apnea. We also provide patients with a wide range of other neurological services, including stroke treatment and spine decompression. To set up an appointment at our Peoria-area facility, please call (309) 740-3766.