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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep. People who have sleep apnea will stop breathing repeatedly throughout their sleep cycle. This disruption in a person’s breathing pattern may cause the brain to not get enough oxygen. If you snore loudly and feel tired during the day after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
    This is the most common form of sleep apnea caused by the muscles in the throat relaxing. When these muscles relax, the breathing airway narrows or closes with inhalation, restricting the amount of air into the body and lowering the amount of oxygen in the blood. When the brain senses this, it sends a signal to the body to wake up in order to get more oxygen.
  • Central sleep apnea
    Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the correct signals to the breathing muscles. With this type of sleep apnea, breathing will stop and the body will not respond appropriately. This causes people to wake up and be short of breath or have difficulty getting back to sleep.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome
    Occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Common Symptoms

  • Loud snoring (typically associated with obstructive sleep apnea)
  • When breathing stops during sleep
  • Waking up abruptly along with shortness of breath (typically associated with central sleep apnea)
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Experiencing headaches in the morning
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Irritability

Therapies & Treatments

Here at Memorial Hermann Home Care, we offer several therapies to treat sleep apnea utilizing positive airway pressure (PAP) devices. The most common types of PAP devices are:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
    CPAP uses constant air pressure to blow air into the nose at night to prevent the airway from collapsing (obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP)
    BIPAP devices deliver two levels of pressure during sleep – a lower pressure during exhalation with a higher pressure during inhalation
  • "Smart" or responsive airway pressure devices:
    • Auto Positive Airway Pressure (APAP)
      This device provides variable air pressure throughout the night automatically
    • Bi-Level Auto Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP)
      BIPAP Auto delivers different air pressure levels throughout the night

To learn more about Memorial Hermann's sleep apnea treatments, please call (281) 784-7550.