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Sleep Apnea

Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice

Pulmonologist located in Monaca, PA and servicing Beaver, PA

Sleep apnea reduces the quality of sleep for an estimated 22 million Americans, and when left untreated, it increases their risk for chronic health complications. To better understand the cause of your snoring and disrupted sleep, Benjamin A. Laracuente, MD, and the medical team at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice in Monaca, Pennsylvania, offers on-site sleep studies. Whether you need to make changes in your sleep habits or need an evaluation for surgery, the skilled providers at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice can help. Schedule a consultation by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects how you breathe while you’re sleeping. This condition causes you to temporarily stop breathing throughout the night, often causing you to briefly wake up many times each night as you struggle to breathe.

There are two main types of sleep apnea that can interfere with your quality of sleep and your overall health.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea develops when your throat muscles relax too much during the night and block the flow of air going in and out of your lungs.

You may be at increased risk for long-term health complications caused by obstructive sleep apnea if you’re obese, if you smoke, or if you have a family history of the disease.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs due to dysfunction in the part of your brain that controls breathing muscles. Your risk for developing central sleep apnea increases as you get older and if you have certain heart conditions or a history of stroke.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The hallmark symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. You may not even realize you have the condition until your partner starts complaining about chronic snoring.

Other common side effects of sleep apnea include:

  • Irritability
  • Gasping for breath during the night
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulties concentrating

If not properly treated, sleep apnea can lead to long-term health complications, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

After a review of your symptoms and your medical history, your Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice may recommend a sleep study to confirm sleep apnea.

A sleep study involves monitoring your body functions while you sleep, noting important details about your:

  • Brainwaves
  • Heart rhythm
  • Muscle tension
  • Breathing patterns
  • Eye and leg movements

The diagnostic testing is noninvasive and painless. You wear specialized sensors on various parts of your body while you sleep which collect information about your health.

After reviewing the results of your sleep study, your Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice provider can determine if your issues are related to sleep apnea or another underlying condition.

How is sleep apnea treated?

There are several options for treating sleep apnea, and your treatment plan depends on the severity of your symptoms and your current health. Initially, your provider works with you on lifestyle changes to improve your sleep habits.

You may benefit from a custom-fitted mouthpiece that holds your tongue in place and your jaw forward to make it easier for you to breathe. The Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice team also provides resources to help you strengthen your facial muscles to reduce breathing obstruction while you sleep.

As a last resort, you may be a good candidate for surgery to remove your tonsils or excess tissue that blocks your airway at the back of your throat.