In contrast to just feeling tired, how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? (Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you.) Use the following sleep test scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
0 = Would never doze
1 = Slight chance of dozing
2 = Moderate chance of dozing
3 = High chance of dozing
Berger/Henry ENT Center
Jamestown Medical Building
Chestnut Hill Medical Building
The Oaks Medical Center
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic, progressive and potentially life-threatening disorder. Nearly 25% of men and 10% of women suffer from OSA. At the time of diagnosis, more than 30% of patients have severe sleep apnea. Without proper evaluation and diagnostic testing, it can be very difficult to distinguish between simple snoring and serious apnea based upon a patient’s symptoms. Unfortunately, the vast majority of patients with OSA remain undiagnosed and are not receiving treatment.
OSA is caused by a narrowing or complete obstruction of the airway during sleep. The airway is composed of muscles. During sleep these muscles relax. In patients with OSA, this relaxation of the muscles results in blockage of the airway. Obstruction can occur in the nose, mouth and throat. This obstruction causes interrupted breathing patterns and a lack of oxygen flow to the vital organs of the body (i.e., heart, brain). As breathing becomes interrupted, the body has a protective mechanism to restore normal breathing patterns. However, this results in arousals which prevent the patient from achieving or maintaining the deep, restorative levels of sleep. These arousals occur repeatedly throughout the night and result in a very poor sleep quality. Most patients are not aware of these arousals and report a normal amount of sleep at night. It is important to note that many patients with OSA report falling asleep easily or being “deep sleepers”. Unfortunately, they are not getting the proper quality of sleep.
Patients with sleep apnea commonly report snoring, daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Since many symptoms occur while sleeping, it is important to ask your bed partner if they observe any snoring, gasping, choking or breath holding at night. Left untreated, sleep apnea is associated with severe health and social problems. High blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke are linked to OSA. While men are certainly at higher risk for this disorder, OSA does occur in women.
The good news is OSA is treatable. Various sleep apnea treatment options exist that we can suggest and perform at any of our six (6) office locations in the Philadelphia area: East Norriton (19401), Roxborough (19128), Chestnut Hill (19118), Willow Grove (19090), Lansdale (19446), and Phoenixville (19456). The goal of treatment is to enlarge the airway during sleep. Preventing collapse of the airway should restore normal sleep and breathing patterns and eliminate the risks of untreated OSA.
It may be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since many symptoms only occur when you’re asleep. However, it is helpful to ask a bed partner to observe your sleep habits or attempt to record yourself during sleep.
Major signs and symptoms of OSA
Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Learn More About Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)