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Sleep Apnea

Prima Medicine -  - Internal Medicine

Prima Medicine

Internal Medicine & Family Medicine located in Fairfax, VA, South Riding, VA & Merrifield, VA

Everyone knows how frustrating it is to wake up in the morning feeling tired and sleepy. For those with sleep apnea, this feeling is all too familiar. The team of doctors and nurse practitioners at Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, are knowledgeable in the diagnosis and management of sleep apnea, helping their patients get the rest that they need. Call or go online today to schedule your appointment to learn more.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a sleeping person stops breathing, sometimes for a considerable amount of time, during their sleep. These breathing interruptions happen frequently throughout the night, robbing the person’s body and brain of the oxygen they need.

The two kinds of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. While the reasons for the interruption of breathing are different, the effect is the same.

Who is at risk of sleep apnea?

While sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely to get sleep apnea. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Being over 40
  • Being male
  • Having a large neck
  • Having a history of nasal obstruction
  • Having large tonsils
  • Having a large tongue
  • Having a small jaw bone

Remember, these are just risk factors. Even people who don’t classify under any of these factors can have sleep apnea, and it’s important to seek the care of a medical professional if you are experiencing sleep disturbances.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

People with sleep apnea commonly experience some or many of the following symptoms:

  • Dry throat upon waking
  • Restless sleep
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Loud snoring
  • Lack of energy while awake
  • Mood changes or forgetfulness
  • Waking up gasping or choking

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek medical help. The team at Prima Medicine are experts at properly diagnosing and caring for patients with sleep apnea.

What conditions can sleep apnea cause?

Aside from making you sleepy and impairing your ability to perform everyday tasks, untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious health conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Headaches

While these are serious conditions, timely diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can eliminate the increased risk of these conditions caused by sleep apnea.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively treat sleep apnea. Simple lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and refraining from sleeping on your back can help.

A breathing-assistance machine called a C-PAP can be worn to help maintain regular breathing throughout the night. A number of surgical options are also available, as well as dental devices.

If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, call or go online today to schedule your appointment with the experts at Prima Medicine.