Sleep Apnea Specialist

ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA

Otolaryngologists & Allergy Specialists located in McKees Rocks, Seven Fields, Sewickley, & Vanport Township, PA

If you're frequently finding it hard to stay awake during the day and your partner's been complaining about your snoring, you could have sleep apnea. The team at ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA offers an expert evaluation of your symptoms and uses NightOwl® home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) to determine whether you have sleep apnea. For the effective resolution of your sleep apnea, call the practice's office in Sewickley, Beaver/Vanport Township, Seven Fields, or Ohio Valley in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, today to schedule a consultation or book online.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea affects your breathing while you're asleep, resulting in brief but repeated instances where you stop breathing. Each time this occurs, your brain wakes you to get you breathing again, but as it happens so frequently every night, your body doesn't take in all the oxygen you need.

Of the two main types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. It develops when the soft tissues at the back of your throat relax during sleep and block your airway. 

The other form of the condition is central sleep apnea. It is a neurological problem caused by a malfunction in your brain where it fails to tell your breathing muscles to work.

There are three categories of OSA, defined by the number of times you stop breathing (the apnea-hypopnea index or AHI). An AHI over 30 (meaning you stop breathing 30 or more times an hour) is severe OSA, an AHI between 15 and 30 is moderate OSA, and an AHI between five and 15 is mild OSA.

What problems does sleep apnea cause?

Unless you realize you have sleep apnea and visit ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA for treatment, you could develop serious health problems such as:

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

Unfortunately, it's not easy to tell if you have sleep apnea yourself because the problem occurs during sleep. Even if you're waking multiple times, you probably won't remember the next day.

You might wake yourself by snorting or choking, or a partner might complain about your continual, loud snoring. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea that start to affect you when you're awake include excessive daytime sleepiness, poor memory, chronic fatigue, morning headaches, and changes in your mood.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

To diagnose sleep apnea, ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA gives you a sleep monitoring device to wear at home. 

The practice utilizes the NightOwl home sleep apnea testing (HSAT), which simply requires that you wear a sensor on your fingertip to detect information like how much oxygen is in your blood.

Usually, you wear the NightOwl device for one or two nights, then your physician at ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA analyses the results. If you have sleep apnea, they offer effective treatments to help improve your oxygen intake at night.

How is sleep apnea treated?

You can do a lot to help yourself if you have OSA, for example:  

  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding alcohol 
  • Not taking sleeping pills
  • Stopping smoking
  • Not sleeping on your back

If these measures aren't enough, you may need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. The CPAP face mask delivers air under pressure into your nasal passages throughout the night. 

CPAP devices help prevent the blocking of your airway, so you take in more oxygen. There are also surgical procedures that can help if nothing else is working.

For effective solutions to sleep apnea, call ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA today or book an appointment online.