Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea: Overview

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Apnea means no breath
  • Hypopnea means little breath
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep (apneas and/or hypopneas)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is usually due to collapse of the pharyngeal (throat) structures during sleep
  • Significant health consequences include high blood pressure, worsening of diabetes, increased risk of heart attack and stroke

Signs and Symptoms

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is a frequent cause of sexual dysfunction, depression and morning headaches
  • Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to daytime tiredness and increased risk of an accident or poor work performance
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Mood changes
  • Others noticing pauses in your breathing or gasping for air while sleeping

Sleep Study: Introduction

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  • You and your spouse/partner will fill out a sleep related questionnaire and a sleep diary
  • A thorough evaluation will be performed by one of our specialists
  • It may be recommended that you have a sleep study (polysomnogram)
  • A polysomnogram is an over-night test performed at home or in a sleep laboratory to evaluate the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea
  • A polysomnogram will give your specialist information needed to diagnose possible obstructive sleep apnea and other causes of sleep disordered breathing
  • Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea will be tailored to each patient’s needs

If you have sleep apnea problems, please call (503) 257-3204 or request a visit online with us.


American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. One Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3357, 1-703-836-4444