Sleep Apnea is a condition that causes the airway to collapse, or obstruct, when a person sleeps. When a person with sleep apnea falls asleep, the soft tissue in the throat relaxes and collapses in on itself, essentially blocking the flow of air and preventing breathing. This episode causes a decrease in oxygen in the blood and an increase in carbon dioxide. To recover, the person arouses from sleep just enough to restore breathing. This process can happen over and over throughout the night, preventing the person from maintaining a deep, restful sleep. Snoring is often heard, followed by a period of silence when the airway collapses, and more snoring or even gasping as breathing is restored. The following are some facts about sleep apnea:

- Sleep apnea affects roughly 5% of Americans, approximately 25 million people
- Approximately 90% of these people are untreated
- 38,000 cardiovascular deaths a year are attributed to untreated sleep apnea
- 14,000 traffic deaths are caused by people with untreated sleep apnea each year
- There is a strong link between ADHD and untreated sleep apnea

Despite the seriousness of untreated sleep apnea, the condition is easy to diagnose and relatively easy to treat. While severe cases may require a surgical procedure performed by an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor, the vast majority of cases can be effectively treated with CPAP. This is a special machine with a mask that is applied to the nose, so it is a noninvasive treatment that does not require the patient to use any type of medication. The mask provides pressurized air that acts like a splint to keep the airway open during sleep.

Somnium Diagnostics can assist you with any questions you may have about sleep apnea and treatment options.