Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is disrupted during sleep. Though episodes of choking and gasping may occur every night you may not be aware of these frightening symptoms of sleep apnea. Symptoms may be noticed by your spouse or roommate. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent silences or pauses during sleep. This is caused by breaks in breathing.
  • Choking or gasping during sleep. Gasping is your body’s way of getting air into the lungs.
  • Loud snoring
  • Sudden awakenings. These happen when your brain triggers your body to wake and breathe again. You may also wake up in a sweat.

Daytime sleepiness. Waking up, even after a “good” night’s sleep can be a sign of sleep apnea.


Diagnosing sleep apnea may begin with an extensive look into your family history. Your doctor will also do a physical exam and speak with you about your symptoms. If it is determined that you may have sleep apnea you will be referred to a sleep specialist.

A sleep study is the one way to definitively determine if you do in fact suffer from sleep apnea.


Treatments for sleep apnea range from conservative measures such as losing weight to more serious strategies like surgery and implants. Treatment options include:

  • Losing weight.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs that cause deep sleep.
  • Change positions or use sleep positioning aides.
  • Smoking cessation. Quitting smoking can decrease upper airway swelling.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) delivers air to your lungs as you sleep. The mask helps by keeping airways open, preventing lapses in breathing.
  • Dental devices may help keep the airway open.
  • Pillar palatal implants help stiffen the soft palate.
  • Surgery options include:
  • Somnoplasty
  • Nasal Surgery
  • Uvlopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Mandibular maxillar advancement surgery