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Sleep Apnea

Rhode Island Medicine

Internal Medicine located in Woonsocket, RI & Pawtucket, RI

Sleep apnea can cause you to snore heavily, wake up gasping for air, and undermine your overall health. At Rhode Island Medicine, experienced internist Irfan Ahmad, MD, evaluates your sleep quality and can help you get better rest even if you have sleep apnea. Call the office in Woonsocket or Pawtucket, Rhode Island, if you have symptoms of sleep apnea or use the online tool to schedule an evaluation today.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to wake often during the night because of a blocked airway. This happens when your tongue relaxes too much and falls to the back of your throat or because you have a narrow airway that closes when your palate and throat relax during slumber. 

When your airway becomes blocked, oxygen fails to get to your brain and your body awakens in response. You may not always be aware of these brief interruptions in your sleep, but they disrupt your natural sleep cycle and can cause extreme daytime fatigue and other serious health problems. 

Who is at risk of sleep apnea?

Gender, weight, lifestyle, and anatomy can determine your risk of sleep apnea. Those most likely to develop this disorder include:

  • Overweight or obese individuals
  • Men
  • Smokers and heavy drinkers
  • People with a thick neck circumference

Those who snore heavily may also develop or suffer from sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

People with sleep apnea often snore loudly, disrupting their partner’s sleep. Other symptoms include:

  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Restless sleep
  • Morning headaches

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment at Rhode Island Medicine to be evaluated for sleep apnea.

What conditions are associated with sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea interrupts quality sleep and is also associated with other health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Memory loss and cognitive impairment
  • Liver problems
  • Weakened immunity
  • Sexual dysfunction

Managing sleep apnea helps decrease total body inflammation and can help reduce your risk of chronic disease. 

What are the treatments for sleep apnea?

A continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine may be prescribed if you have sleep apnea. This machine assists in keeping your airway open during the night so you experience restful sleep.

If the CPAP machine is too distracting, loud, or uncomfortable, you may benefit from a simple oral appliance that helps you maintain an open airway during sleep. Lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can also help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, call Rhode Island Medicine today or use the online tool to schedule your appointment now.