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Kraig W. Jacobson, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Do you have sleep apnea?

Posted by on in Primary Care
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Although we may tease our loved ones and friends about their snoring, it may be a sign of a common disorder called sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea often experience snoring that wakes them or interrupts their breathing rhythm with long gaps known as apnea periods.

Sleep apnea is one of several key sleep disorders and may require medical attention, especially if it’s coupled with excessive daytime sleepiness. Your loved ones may likely be the first to comment on your snoring, since it may be affecting their sleep. The great news is that you all can get a restful night’s sleep with proper medical attention.

Sleep apnea facts

  • Sleep apnea is more common in men than women.
  • If someone in your family has or had sleep apnea, you are more likely to develop it.
  • Women are more likely to acquire sleep apnea during pregnancy and after menopause.
  • At least 1 in 10 people older than 65 have sleep apnea.
  • Overweight people may suffer more from sleep apnea than those who maintain a healthy weight.
  • Sleep apnea is more common in adults than children and teens.

Forms of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when throat muscles relax. With obstructive sleep apnea, airflow to the lungs can be blocked. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute have a helpful animation showing how obstructive sleep apnea occurs.

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central apneas.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Lack of concentration and feeling tired
  • Headaches
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth

Symptoms others may notice include:

  • Episodes of not breathing (apnea), occurring as few as five times an hour to many more
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Nighttime gasping, choking or snorting
  • Loud snoring, which is usually more typical in obstructive apnea

If you are concerned that you have sleep apnea, contact us to schedule an appointment. In future blog posts, we’ll talk about sleep apnea tests, diagnosis and treatment.

Tagged in: Apnea Sleep

An energetic problem solver, Dr. Kraig Jacobson has spent his career treating patients and teaching about the complexities of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has practiced medicine in Eugene since 1979. The bigger the challenge, the more he enjoys his work.