Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea facts

  • Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep.
  • The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea, and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea.
  • Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep.
  • The complications of obstructive sleep apnea include high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, automobile accidents, and daytime sleepiness as well as difficulty concentrating, thinking and remembering.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed and evaluated by history, physical examination and polysomnography.
  • The nonsurgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include behavior therapy, medications, dental appliances, continuous positive airway pressure, bi-level positive airway pressure, and auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure.
  • The surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include nasal surgery, palate implants, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, tongue reduction surgery, genioglossus advancement, maxillo-mandibular advancement, tracheostomy, and bariatric surgery.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/25/2012

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Sleep Apnea Awareness

Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Warning Signs

The symptoms of sleep apnea may include:

  • daytime fatigue and sleepiness,
  • insomnia,
  • poor concentration and attention,
  • memory problems,
  • anxiety,
  • irritability,
  • headaches, and
  • difficulty performing work duties.

Sleep apnea may lead to frequent awakening of the bed partner resulting in insomnia and its associated symptoms.

Obstructive sleep apnea can also be associated with long-term complications if not diagnosed and treated properly. Some of these complications may include:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension),
  • ischemic heart disease (poor blood flow to the heart),
  • heart attack,
  • heart failure,
  • irregular heart rate,
  • pulmonary hypertension (elevation of blood pressure in blood vessels of the lungs), or
  • even death.