Sleep apnea means that you frequently stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep. It can be mild to severe. This is based on the number of times an hour that you stop breathing or have slowed breathing.
Blocked or narrowed airways in your nose, mouth, or throat can cause sleep apnea. Your airway can become blocked when your throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep.
You can treat sleep apnea at home by making lifestyle changes. You also can use a CPAP breathing machine that keeps tissues in the throat from blocking your airway. Your doctor may also suggest that you use a breathing device while you sleep. It helps keep your airway open. This could be a device that you put in your mouth. Other examples include strips or disks that you use on your nose. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove enlarged tissues in the throat.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Hasmeena Kathuria, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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