Many myths surround sleep apnea, one being that snoring and sleep apnea are the same thing. While snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), most people who snore do NOT have sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing while you're asleep – 5 or more times an hour.
If you have sleep apnea, you'll typically be treated by a team of physicians, including your primary care doctor, a dentist, a pulmonologist, a sleep specialist and an ENT specialist. At Alaska Center for Ear, Nose and Throat (ACENT) in Anchorage, an ENT specialist can help with the surgical component of your treatment. Request a consultation online, or call our office at (907) 279-8800 to make an appointment to meet with a member of our team. For our Homer and surrounding patients, please call (907) 235-0310.
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Understanding Sleep Apnea
The key characteristic of sleep apnea is that you repeatedly stop breathing when you are asleep. You may wake up gasping and coughing, or experience morning headaches and excessive sleepiness during the day.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to heart and lung failure, and even death. Untreated sleep apnea also increases your risk for other serious medical conditions.
Diagnosis of sleep apnea requires a formal sleep study, performed at a sleep clinic.
Doctors typically approach the treatment of sleep apnea conservatively, taking the least-invasive measures first. If you are overweight, you will be urged to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI as one measure in managing your sleep apnea.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the primary treatment for sleep apnea. Other treatments include septoplasty and turbinate reduction, which can help facilitate the use of CPAP. Some patients benefit from uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty (UPPP).
For detailed information, visit our Sleep Apnea Treatment page.