Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep, making you tired throughout the day and often causing brain fog. While those problems are a big concern, it can get worse: Untreated sleep apnea causes serious health issues such as high blood pressure and heart arrythmias. As a board-certified sleep medicine physician, Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Las Vegas or use the online booking feature.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that occurs when you stop breathing while you sleep. When you have OSA, you stop breathing or have an apnea episode 5-30 times every hour.
The soft tissues in your mouth, such as your tongue, relax and fall toward the back of your throat when you sleep. When this happens, they can partially or completely cover the airway, blocking air flow and stopping your breathing.
The primary symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Loud snoring is the top symptom. Others in your household may notice a repeating cycle: snoring, followed by silence when you stop breathing, then a gasp when you breathe again.
There’s only one way to diagnose sleep apnea and that’s with a sleep study. As a specialist in sleep medicine, Dr. Willoughby offers a home sleep study, which is more comfortable and convenient than going to a sleep lab.
For your home sleep study, Dr. Willoughby supplies the equipment you need and shows you how to use it. Using a few simple pieces — a sensor on your finger, a nasal tube, and an elastic band around your chest — your home sleep study measures your oxygen levels, breathing, and air flow while you sleep.
The information is recorded on a small monitor, then Dr. Willoughby evaluates the data to determine whether you have OSA and the severity of your apnea episodes.
If you have mild sleep apnea and you’re overweight, losing weight may be all you need to stop your apnea. For moderate-to-severe apnea, Dr. Willoughby recommends continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or an oral appliance.
When you use CPAP, you wear a mask that delivers enough air to keep your airway open. Although CPAP is the preferred treatment for OSA, some patients with moderate apnea may use an oral appliance. The appliance holds your jaw and tongue in a forward position so your tongue can’t fall over the airway.
If you’re a loud snorer or you’re tired during the day, schedule an appointment online or call Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, for treatment.