Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep
The American Academy for Sleep Medicine reports that approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, OSA, which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.
During normal sleep, the throat muscles relax. When a person has OSA, the upper airway closes off due to a blockage caused by loss of muscle tone, excess tissue in the back of the throat or obesity. Once airflow stops the blood oxygen level will drop, which causes the brain to wake up.
Undiagnosed severe sleep apnea can cause irregular heartbeats, unstable high blood pressure and may lead to heart attack, stroke or harmful accidents, making sleep apnea a potentially life-threating condition if left untreated.
Those experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, waking up choking and gasping, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches and resistant hypertension, should consult with their doctor to discuss their condition. A patient may be referred for a comprehensive sleep evaluation, or sleep study.
Bacharach is one of the first hospitals in southern New Jersey to treat sleep disorders. Our eight-bed, state-of-the-art Sleep and Neurodiagnostics Center offers a full-range of tests, including the gold standard overnight sleep study.
During a patient’s visit to a sleep center, the staff monitors sleep to discover where problems exist, collecting the data needed to recommend a course of treatment. A sleep center may utilize several testing methods, including EEGs (electroecephalograms), polysomnography, home sleep testing and multiple sleep latency testing.
As part of the sleep study, a team of registered polysomnography technologists, respiratory therapists, registered electroencephalography technologists and board-certified physicians analyze sleep problems and develop an action plan to help patients sleep better and often save their lives as well.
The best treatment for severe cases of sleep apnea is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which acts like a splint to the airway, keeping it open so the patient can breathe on his or her own. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, the doctor may suggest a visit to an ENT physician for surgical interventions that help keep the airway clear during sleep. There is also a dental appliance available that is used to reposition the jaw and works similarly to a retainer, opening the airway.
Sleep issues such as sleep apnea should not be ignored. It is critical to seek out the proper diagnosis and care for this treatable condition to avoid potentially serious consequences.