If you often feel tired and irritable after a night of sleep, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. It is not uncommon for this disease, which affects nearly 52 million Americans, to go undiagnosed for years. Sleep apnea involves frequent moments of interrupted breathing during sleep. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms. Over time, it can increase your risk of serious health issues. Dr. E. Richard Hughes offers effective sleep apnea treatment, and can collaborate with other doctors depending on the severity of the case. To learn about how Dr. Hughes' sleep apnea treatment can help you, schedule a consultation at our Sterling, VA, practice.
Video: Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can often be treated with a simple oral appliance. Dr. Hughes in Sterling, VA, speaks about the diagnosis process and as well central versus obstructive sleep apnea. He encourages patients suffering from daytime fatigue and other symptoms to pursue a diagnosis and then visit his office.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that can affect men and women of all ages, body types, and ethnic backgrounds. There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused when the muscles in the back of the throat relax to a point at which they block the airways. This causes the sufferer to stop breathing for brief periods of time during the night, lasting from 10 seconds to over a minute. During sleep, patients may experience dozens, or even hundreds of moments of interrupted breathing. In rare cases, patients may suffer from central sleep apnea (CSA), in which the brain fails to regulate breathing. While Dr. Hughes can treat OSA, CSA requires the attention of a specialist.
The effects of sleep apnea can have a huge impact on your overall health, and can lead to more serious health complications like heart disease and diabetes.
Symptoms and Effects
Snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea. However, there are multiple symptoms that occur both while sleeping and while awake. Patients suffering from sleep apnea may experience:
- Frequent irritability
- Sore throat or dry throat when waking up
- Waking up throughout the night
- Choking or gasping during sleep
In addition to fatigue and discomfort, sleep apnea can also cause serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, and weight gain.
Dr. Hughes treats patients with custom-made splints that reposition the soft tissues and muscles of the upper airway to prevent blockage. The splints work by moving the lower jaw slightly forward, which causes the tissues to tighten. In addition to splints, Dr. Hughes may also recommend a number of lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, stopping smoking, changing sleeping position, or avoiding sleeping aids. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to remove tissue, reposition the jaw, or create a new air passageway. When necessary, Dr. Hughes works with local specialists to coordinate these complex treatments. During your initial consultation, a thorough examination will be performed to determine which type of treatment is right for you.
Find Relief Today
If you are like the millions who struggle with sleep apnea, you may be facing more serious issues than just fatigue and irritability. Fortunately, Dr. Hughes can help you achieve restful sleep and reduce your risk of health complications. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact us today.