FAQS ON sleep apnea.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, Sleep Apnea affects roughly 22 million Americans, with roughly 80% of those individuals being undiagnosed. If a person suspects they have Sleep Apnea, one should consult with a physician or medical professional for a diagnosis.
During sleep apnea, regular breathing is disrupted. This prevents the sufferer from getting enough oxygen, and makes it impossible to get good quality sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Mixed Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting about 18 million Americans and accounting for about 80% of sleep apnea cases. It is caused by a physical obstruction of the airway during sleep when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses. This makes it difficult or impossible for the sleeper to breathe, which in turn causes a partial awakening and disrupted sleep. This leads sufferers to snore loudly or make choking noises during sleep. In other words, people with OSA have a “mechanical” problem with the tissue in their mouth and throat blocking the passage of air.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe. CSA is a neurological problem. Patients with this condition are physically able to breathe, except their brain is not telling them to do so. This causes carbon dioxide to build up in the body and oxygen levels to dip. Often (but not always), CSA is associated with other serious medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

“Mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea (anatomical) and central sleep apnea (neurological). It can be explained as a central event that turns into an obstructive event.
The following symptoms go hand and hand with Sleep Apnea:
  • Loud and frequent snoring
  • Periods of not breathing during sleep
  • Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep
  • Need to urinate during the night
  • High blood pressure
  • Morning headaches
  • Awakening tired in the morning
  • Daytime or evening lethargy
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Drowsy driving, limited attention, memory loss and poor judgment
  • Personality changes
  • Weight gain, severe leg swelling, body mass index of 25 or more
  • Hyperactive behavior, especially in children
  • Decreased size of airways and large neck
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition. If you or a loved one suspect you have it, you should be tested as soon as possible.
  • Sleep Questionnaire.This is a simple test you can fill out and take with you to your physician visit. It evaluates you for the most common symptoms of sleep apnea.Sleep Apnea Screening Questionnaire (MAKE SEPARATE FAQ FROM https://www.cpap.com/cpap-sleep-apnea-test)
  • Sleep Study.A polysomnogram, or sleep study, measures many key metrics while you sleep. These metrics are used to determine if you have sleep apnea or a number of other sleep related conditions such as central sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.com has created an “Introduction To The Sleep Lab” video that explains the process of verifying, diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. If you are curious about the process or would like to know what to expect during your sleep study you can view the video in the Videos Tab of this page. If you have tested positive for sleep apnea, it should be treated. CPAP is the most popular and proven way to treat sleep apnea. Here is our advice on navigating the tricky process of getting effective equipment:
  • Get The Best Equipment.Watch Out! There is a significant difference between basic and high end CPAP equipment. High end equipment is generally smaller, lighter, quieter, less prone to leaks, easier to breathe against, better humidified and easier to travel with than basic CPAP Equipment. The key to CPAP treatment is comfort, choose wisely!Many traditional, brick and mortar CPAP providers will set you up on a CPAP and bill your insurance company. If this approach to getting your equipment is used, you will most likely be given basic equipment. This is because there is only one billing code for all CPAP Machines and very few unique codes for CPAP Masks. Due to this, the insurance company will pay your CPAP Provider the same amount if you get a high end or basic machine. Usually, the amount paid to traditional CPAP providers by insurance companies is not enough to cover the cost of high end CPAP equipment and the patient is left to make do with basic equipment. If you would like high end equipment, there are a variety of ways to obtain it online for equal or lesser cost than dealing with traditional CPAP dealers.
  • com (CPAP Retailer).CPAP.com sells high end CPAP supplies and equipment direct to consumers. Many times buying with cash is less expensive than the copay and deductible charged through insurance. If you want a way around the hassle and low end equipment provided by insurance companies and local providers, this is a good choice.
  Can You Die from Sleep Apnea? Sleep Apnea carries with it the risk of death from heart attack or stroke. While the illness itself doesn’t directly cause a person to die, Sleep Apnea spawns other conditions and complications that can eventually kill a person. Here’s a list of the types of life-threatening conditions Sleep Apnea helps foster in a person affected by the disorder:
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
A person can die from every single one of these conditions, and it’s important to understand Sleep Apnea’s role in causing these issues. Sleep Apnea deprives a person of blood oxygen during the night, and as a result, the lack of oxygen puts extra strain on the heart. The extra strain on the heart can raise blood pressure and make it very difficult to control. High blood pressure can cause heart attack or stroke, and has its own set of complications. If concerned about possibly dying from Sleep Apnea, it’s important to work with a care provider to help get it under control. When controlled, many of the cardiac symptoms can lessen and a person’s energy level and overall health can dramatically improve.
The effects of sleep apnea are not limited to your body or mind. The result of consistently not achieving high quality sleep can impact job performance, and even personal relationships.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts the Body

The oxygen deprivation that occurs during an apnea puts serious strain on your body. The heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body, which can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. Other conditions like diabetes, liver damage, low fertility and sexual dysfunction have also been connected to sleep apnea.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts the Brain

Oxygen deprivation and lack of sleep take a toll on your brain. Research has shown that sleep apnea actually decreases the amount of white and gray matter in the brain [15] [16], meaning that sufferers experience decreased cognitive function and decreased memory and putting them at greater risk of developing dementia.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts the Mind

Sleep apnea can cause mental and emotional damage. Sleep deprivation causes stress, moodiness, and irritability, making a sufferer miserable. During prolonged periods of sleep deprivation, it can be challenging to sustain relationships—even with partners or family. Unsurprisingly, sleep apnea has been linked to depression.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts Relationships

The effects of sleep apnea aren’t limited to the person suffering from this disorder. As the symptoms like irritability and reduced sex drive become more pronounced, they can impact the partner, family, friends, and even colleagues of the person suffering. In extreme cases, the snoring, tossing and turning, and decreased intimacy or fertility can alienate a partner, leading to breakdowns in relationships. Wondering if you’re suffering from sleep apnea? Get started today with a consultation with one of our sleep specialists.
Seeking treatment might be uncomfortable, but it is important—the consequences of leaving this sleep disorder are very real. In fact, an 18-year study found that people with sleep apnea were three times more likely to die from any cause  during the study than healthy people. That’s right: sleep apnea patients die at three times the rate of normal sleepers. Here are just some of the health risks associated with sleep apnea.

Heart Disease

Sleep apnea poses a real threat for people suffering from heart disease or other cardiac issues. Did you know:
  • People with sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, strokes, and heart failure.
  • 50% or more of cardiovascular patients have sleep apnea, compared to less than 5% in the overall population
  • In patients with heart failure, those with sleep apnea died at twice the rate of the healthy sleepers

High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea has an impact on blood pressure, making existing symptoms even worse:
  • Severity of sleep apnea is directly correlated to increasing blood pressure, regardless of sex, age, and other factors
  • 37% of people with high blood pressure and 83% of people with drug-resistant hypertension have sleep apnea
  • People with moderate to severe sleep apnea are three times as likely to have high blood pressure as their healthy counterparts


Strokes and sleep apnea are often related, and can impact on chances for a normal recovery:
  • 65% of stroke patients have sleep apnea As many as 50% of strokes occur at night or within one hour of waking up—right when sleep apnea is putting the greatest strain on the body
  • Stroke patients with sleep apnea have higher mortality rates and function more poorly than normal sleepers


Diabetes and sleep apnea have a close connection:
  • Half of people with type two diabetes have sleep apnea
  • People with moderate to severe sleep apnea are over twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes
  • Sleep apnea is associated with increased glucose intolerance and insulin resistance

Cognitive Damage/Dementia

As noted above, there’s a proven link between sleep apnea and cognitive function:
  • People with sleep apnea experience irritability, lack of concentration, impaired memory formation, and forgetfulness
  • Studies have shown that grey matter concentration and the size of parts of the brain important to memory formation are decreased in patients with sleep apnea
  • People with sleep apnea experience the onset of dementia over 10 years earlier than normal sleepers (at 77 versus 90 years old)

Sexual Dysfunction

  • Sleep apnea can impact on your love life and reproductive health:
  • Men with erectile dysfunction are more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea
  • Sleep deprivation decreases sexual desire in women  and impacts fertility, making it harder to conceive
  • Couples in which one or both partners suffer from a sleep disorder may have trouble conceiving

Increased Risk of Accidents

Sleep apnea puts you at risk for serious accidents:
  • People with sleep apnea are 2-3 times more likely to be in a car crash
  • Driving while sleep-deprived is just as dangerous as driving drunk—both double the risk of being in an accident
Are you concerned about the negative effects of sleep apnea? Thankfully, sleep apnea treatment can effectively prevent or even reverse some of these negative health effects. Start with a sleep study to test for sleep apnea:
Sleep apnea is more common in men, and risk tends to increase once someone has reached middle age. However, sleep apnea can be found in virtually anyone—people of any age, women, and children can all develop this disorder.

You may be at risk of sleep apnea if you match these criteria:

  • Being overweight: Being overweight or obese is one of the most significant risk factors. About 50% of people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight. When fat accumulates around the upper airway, it can change the shape of the airway or the extra weight can make it more likely that the throat tissue will collapse during sleep 
  • A large neck: This is another very important physical indicator, often used by doctors to measure the likelihood that someone has sleep apnea. People with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches for men and 15 inches for women are considered at heightened risk for OSA.
  • A small jaw: People with small jaws have tongues that are seated farther back in the mouth, increasing the probability of it falling into the airway.
  • Large tonsils or adenoids: This is particularly problematic in children. If the tonsils are large enough, they can actually obstruct the throat and cause sleep apnea.
  • High blood pressure and diabetes: Sleep apnea is correlated to these other health conditions and your family health history can also play a role.
  • Nasal congestion: Trouble breathing through the nose—because of allergies or a deviated septum, for example—can make sleep apnea more likely.

Yes—there are certain actions can exacerbate or increase the likelihood of an apnea occurring, including: 

  • Smoking: The inflammation and lung damage caused by smoking means that smokers are significantly more likely to have the disorder.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcohol can cause the throat muscles to relax more than usual.
  • Sleeping on your back: During back sleeping, gravity pulls the tongue back into the throat, reducing airflow. If you have sleep apnea, sleeping on your stomach is a good option.
It is normal to feel apprehensive about the possibility of having sleep apnea, but our experienced team and comfortable facilities will make diagnosing and addressing your sleep disorder easy and straightforward, helping you to start feeling like yourself again. Request a consultation with one of our sleep doctors if you think you may be at risk or believe you are suffering from sleep apnea.