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Sleep Apnea Specialist

St. Francis Sleep, Allergy & Lung Institute

Pulmonary, Sleep, Allergy & Clinical Research Center located in Clearwater, Florida

An estimated 22 million Americans don’t get the amount or quality of sleep they need because of sleep apnea. This means they have less energy during the day to do the things they love. If you’re one of those people, Frank Averill, MD, at St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute in Clearwater, Florida, can create a treatment plan to help you fall and stay asleep at night. Call St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute or book your consultation online at your convenience to start getting the rest you need.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects your breathing as you sleep. Because it impedes your breathing, it can become dangerous if you don’t get treatment. It can lead to heart complications, diabetes, liver problems, and more.

There are three main types of sleep apnea with different underlying causes:

Obstructive sleep apnea

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airways are blocked when your throat closes. This is the most common type of the condition.

Central sleep apnea

If you have central sleep apnea, your brain doesn’t send messages telling your body to continue breathing as you sleep.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both other types. It usually occurs after you’ve been treated for obstructive sleep apnea and still cannot breathe despite your airways being newly opened.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Because sleep apnea affects you while you’re asleep, it can be difficult or impossible to identify some of the more obvious symptoms without the help of a roommate or spouse. You may notice some symptoms that affect you during the day, but they’re often difficult to attribute to sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea that appear while you sleep include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses between snores
  • Gasping for air

Symptoms that you may notice yourself include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up several times throughout the night
  • Morning dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty focusing on work or activities
  • Irritability

These symptoms can occur with either type of sleep apnea. Even though snoring is the most well-known result of sleep apnea, you can have the condition without snoring at all. 

What are my sleep apnea treatment options?

The team at St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute selects a sleep apnea treatment option that’s most appropriate for the type you have. For obstructive sleep apnea, the most common treatment option is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The device, and others similar to it, consists of a mask that you wear at night that forces pressure through your airways to open them up. 

Some cases of obstructive sleep apnea are better treated with oral appliances. Your dentist can custom-create a device to adjust your jaw and open your throat. If neither of these options work, your provider may recommend surgery to remove some of the tissue that blocks your airway.

Getting inadequate sleep at night affects your mood, energy, and overall health. Call St. Francis Sleep, Lung and Allergy Institute or book your appointment online today to treat your sleep apnea and get a good night’s sleep.