Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that happens when breathing is interrupted during sleeping.


People with sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds many times a night during their sleep, and there may be a choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes.

Causes of Sleep Apnea:

Sleep Apnea occurs when a person’s airway becomes blocked during sleep for multiple factors as follows:

  • Obesity
  • Taking sedatives and sleeping pills.
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Sleeping on the back. 
  • Anatomical variations, such as narrow airway, enlarged Tonsils, and Adenoids.

Symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Waking up during the night.
  • Heavy snoring.
  • Feeling dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening.
  • Falling asleep at work, while driving, or when talking.
  • Feeling tired during the day.
  • Having morning headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes.
  • In children, it may cause hyperactivity, excessive sweating at night, unusual sleeping positions, bedwetting, or poor school performance in school children.

Types of Sleep Apnea:

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Occurs when the airway in the nose or at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): Occurs when the respiratory control centers in the brain are imbalanced during sleep.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: A combination of both types OSA and CSA.

Sleep Apnea management:

Untreated Sleep Apnea may cause several health problems such as sudden death due to a lack of oxygen in the body or a severe drop in blood oxygen causing heart attacks.

The treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is different from the treatment of central sleep apnea, so you should visit an ENT doctor. Treatment often starts with Conservative treatments such as losing weight, quitting smoking and alcohol, treatment of nasal congestion, preventing sleeping pills and other sedatives, which can relax throat muscles and cause the collapse of the airway at night.

Patients with mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea can use dental appliances or oral devices that help keep the airway open during sleep.

For moderate to severe Sleep Apnea, the most common treatment is the use of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

In addition- and usually not the first treatment option- surgery to remove tissue and expand the airway can help, like Somnoplasty, Tonsillectomy, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, and Nasal surgery, including correction of nasal obstructions, such as a deviated septum.