A Guide to Sleep Apnea

There’s nothing worse than not getting a good night’s sleep. From bags beneath your eyes to trouble concentrating, there’s no shortage of negative consequences too few hours of shuteye can bring. This is a seldom occurrence for some of us, but for the estimated 22 million Americans with sleep apnea, this is a constant nightmare as they snore and gasp for air throughout the night. Most people who have it never get diagnosed. 

Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D, a board-certified sleep apnea doctor in Tampa, has years of experience diagnosing and treating any and all patients who suffer from respiratory illnesses, including sleep apnea, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and interstitial lung disease, just to name a few. He understands how sleep apnea jeopardizes the health of millions of Americans without them ever knowing it, which is why, in this article, we’ll provide a brief guide to sleep apnea along with our recommended methods of treatment. For more information on sleep apnea treatment in Tampa, contact Dr. Vydyula today. 

Related: 5 Signs of Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea? 

In simplest terms, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Of these three types, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. During OSA, your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep.

Sleep apnea symptoms, as with any other disorder, will vary from person to person. That being said, there are some signs to watch out for, including:

  • Insomnia or frequent awakenings throughout the night
  • Frequent headaches in the morning
  • Daytime grogginess
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat

It can be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most prominent symptoms occur only when you’re asleep. You may choose to ask a family member or significant other to observe your sleep habits by watching out for pauses between snores with choking or gasping for air, or you may simply take note of any sleepiness and fatigue you feel throughout the day. As sleep apnea can be a potentially serious disorder, contact a sleep apnea doctor in Tampa immediately if you spot these warning signs or suspect you may have sleep apnea. 

Related: The Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea

Who Is At Risk to Develop Sleep Apnea?

While sleep apnea can affect anyone, including children, there are certain factors that increase your risk of developing sleep apnea, such as anatomy and body weight. For example, a person with a narrow face or thicker neck may be more predisposed to sleep apnea due to their narrowed airways. Other physical attributes that place an individual at greater risk for sleep apnea include enlarged tonsils, receding chin, and a deviated septum. 

On the genetics side, sleep apnea tends to run in families and is most common in men over the age of 40. Both obesity and smoking greatly increase the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea as well. Certain health conditions have also been known to result in central sleep apnea, such as brain tumors, cardiac disorders, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a pulmonary doctor if you feel your physical characteristics or lifestyle habits may be placing you at a greater risk for developing sleep apnea. 

Related: Coronavirus Concerns and Sleep Apnea

What Treatment Options Are Available for Sleep Apnea?

Treatment options for sleep apnea will depend on the type of sleep apnea you have and the severity of your sleep apnea. For example, treatment for central and complex sleep apnea will typically aim to treat the underlying condition causing the apnea, such as a heart or neuromuscular disorder. For obstructive sleep apnea, the following treatment options are available:

  • Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP)
  • Dental appliances
  • Breathing devices
  • Implants
  • Surgery

CPAP is the most common treatment option used to treat sleep apnea. During CPAP therapy, you use a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep. Because the air pressure is just somewhat greater than that of the surrounding air, you’re able to keep your upper airway passages open and prevent apnea and snoring. 

If you’ve exhausted all other treatment options and continue to suffer from sleep apnea, then you might look to surgery as a viable method of sleep apnea treatment in Tampa. Surgical options can involve anything from removal of tissue from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat to the insert of a stimulator for the nerve that controls tongue movement. No matter which option you need or which method you choose, Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., will work to alleviate your symptoms. 

To schedule a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., a sleep apnea doctor in Tampa, please request an appointment today.

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