Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Amelia Heart & Vascular Center is a respected leader in vascular medicine serving the Northern Virginia area.

Obstructive sleep apnea is when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway making it harder to breath when sleeping. This is a serious condition that can cause the patient to start and stop breathing during their sleep.

Causes:

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much making it hard to normally breath while sleeping.

Symptoms:

Symptoms that come with obstructive sleep apnea include

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Abrupt awakenings
  • Awakenings with sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime sweating

Imaging and Diagnostics:

There are many ways for the doctor to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. Below are tests that the doctor may ask the patient to make a proper diagnosis

  • Polysomnography
  • Home sleep apnea testing

Treatments:

If the patient’s obstructive sleep apnea is moderate to severe, the doctor may suggest treatment options. These include

  • Positive airway pressure
  • Mouthpiece
  • Surgery

Lifestyle Changes:

If the patient’s obstructive sleep apnea is mild, the doctor may suggest the patient make some lifestyle changes. These include

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink alcohol moderately
  • Quit smoking
  • Don’t sleep on your back
  • Avoid sedative medication

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