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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious and  potentially life-threatening condition occurring  in all age groups and both genders. Although more common in men, it may be under-diagnosed in women and young African-Americans. It is estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea and is treatable.

Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea is important, as it may be associated with:

Who is affected by sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea appears to run in some families and may be based in genetics.  However, even those with no family history may be likely to develop sleep apnea if they:

Use of alcohol and sleeping pills increases the frequency and duration of breathing pauses in people with sleep apnea.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Diagnosing of sleep apnea can be complicated as there can be many different causes. Primary care physicians, pulmonologists, neurologists, or other physicians with specialty training in sleep disorders may be involved in making a definitive diagnosis and initiating treatment. Several tests are available for evaluating a person for sleep apnea, including:

Diagnostic tests usually are performed in a sleep center, but new technology may allow some sleep studies to be conducted in the patient's home.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

Medications are generally not effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. Therapy for sleep apnea is specifically designed for each individual patient, and may include the following: