Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which patients snore and hold their breath during sleep. The reason for both the snoring and the breath holds or apneas is that patients with OSA have extra tissue in their upper airway (from the nose to the vocal cords). The airway of patients with OSA is also loose, floppy and more easily collapsible than the airway of persons without OSA. Think of the airway of the sleep apnea patient as a thin, flimsy straw and the airway of a person without sleep apnea as a thick rigid lead pipe. The OSA patient has to “suck harder” to get air past the extra tissue and into the lungs. If you think of the straw analogy, what happens when you “suck hard” on a paper straw? It collapses! This is a simple explanation of what happens to the airway of a sleep apnea patient when they go to sleep. When a patient stops breathing (because the airway is obstructed) the oxygen level drops, sometimes to very dangerous levels.
Since our brain does not like to be deprived of oxygen, the brain sends out a signal to wake you up and start to breathe again. Once you awaken and return your oxygen level back to normal (usually within a few breaths) you quickly fall back asleep. Most patients are not awake long enough to remember awakening. The problem is that many patients may awaken hundreds of times throughout their sleep with the result that their sleep quality is affected. This is why many patients with OSA complain of restless, non-refreshing sleep, daytime fatigue or daytime sleepiness, even in the face of a normal quantity of sleep. Daytime sleepiness contributes to difficulty with concentration and motivation, depression, poor job performance and a 4-7 fold increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. Untreated sleep apnea also increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes and even sudden death during sleep. Please take our Sleep Apnea Quiz to see if you might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
I have been using my CPAP machine for almost two months now. I am sleeping seven plus hours nightly, where as before I slept about five interrupted hours a night. I feel much better each day, I have more energy and everything just feels good. Dr Popper and his staff have enabled me through his sleep studies program to reach this new level. The program and equipment will work.”
The first step is to have a comprehensive sleep center consultation with Dr. Popper, a Board Certified Sleep Specialist, at our Accredited Sleep Center (serving Los Angeles, Malibu, Thousand Oaks and the rest of Southern California). You will be asked to complete a comprehensive sleep center questionnaire to aid Dr. Popper in performing an exhaustive evaluation to determine your overall general health status and determine if there are additional factors affecting your sleep. It is important to completely fill out the questionnaire and return it to us prior to scheduling your consultation as the length of your consultation is in part determined by the complexity of your particular sleep disorder(s). Dr. Popper will review your comprehensive sleep center questionnaire and one of our office staff members will contact you to schedule your consultation. Download our Comprehensive Sleep Center Questionnaire
Patients with suspected OSA will require a Sleep Study or polysomnogram. Most patients will require this to be done overnight in the sleep center. A home sleep study can be performed in some patients, if the only concern is OSA and they do not have other significant medical conditions or additional sleep concerns that require an in-center study.
Treatment recommendations are based upon the results from your sleep study and will be discussed in great detail with you upon your follow-up visit with Dr. Popper. A brief listing of available options is below:
To find out if you are at risk for obstructive sleep apnea CLICK HERE to take our quiz.
To open and view the PDF documents available from this site, download a free copy of the latest version of ADOBE READER.