Sleep apnea is a disorder where the airway slackens during sleep and closes during sleep. Normally, the muscle tone that supports the airway relaxes during sleep to a slight degree. This process becomes problematic when the relaxation of the airway narrows the breathing passage so much that it makes breathing difficult. The airway becomes so restricted that the brain senses this difficulty and increases the breathing effort. Eventually, the increased effort awakens the brain to stimulate the relaxed muscles and reopens the breathing passage. This process becomes repetitive throughout the night and disrupts the sleep, causing daytime sleepiness symptoms.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
The 10-question screen below may be used to identify patients who are likely to have sleep apnea. This tool should be used, and the referring doctor needs to be notified of the results. The Sleep Center can assist in the education process and scheduling of the sleep studies. The referring physician needs to supply the Sleep Center with the sleep study order, demographics and a brief history of the patient for our reading sleep specialist.
- I have been told that I snore.
- I have been told that I stop breathing in my sleep, although I haven’t noticed it.
- I have high blood pressure. I’ve noticed my heart pounding or beating irregularly during the night.
- I have headaches in the morning.
- I fall asleep easily during the day.
- I have been told that I kick at night.
- I experience aching or “crawling” sensations in my legs.
- I am gaining weight or am overweight.
- I suddenly wake up choking or gasping for breath during the night.
- I sweat a lot during the night.