Glendale Sleep Disorders Center
Should You be Concerned About Snoring?
Glendale Sleep Disorders Center

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Medical professionals and insurance carriers recognize Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a life-
threatening condition requiring prompt diagnosis and treatment. Typically, snoring is no
more than an inconvenience and is not life-threatening. However, it can be a prime
symptom of a potentially lethal condition known as sleep apnea — a condition in which
the air passage in the throat becomes blocked.

For a person with sleep apnea, breathing stops from 10 to 60 seconds at a time, and these
attacks can occur up to 120 times an hour during sleep. As a result, oxygen levels in the
bloodstream fall, which in turn may lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack
and/or abnormal heart rhythms. It is estimated that as many as 18 million Americans
suffer from sleep apnea, yet up to 95% of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated.
Although it is most common in overweight men, both adults and children of either gender
can be affected.

Signs to look for in a person with sleep apnea include: loud, irregular snoring; daytime
sleepiness; morning headaches; weight gain; frequent nocturnal urination; obesity;
hypertension; falling asleep while driving; loss of energy; anxiety or depression. The
childhood form of obstructive sleep apnea is particularly difficult to diagnose since the
symptoms may be very subtle and differ considerably from those evident in adults.
Fortunately, there are treatments for sleep apnea which range from the use of drugs, to
oxygen ventilation therapy, to surgery in certain cases.

Are There Any Risk Factors?

In untreated sleep apnea, breathing stops from 10 to 60 seconds at a time, and these
attacks can occur up to 120 times an hour during sleep. As a result, decreased levels of
oxygen in the blood may cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and abnormal
heart rhythms. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders attributes 38,000
cardiovascular deaths a year to sleep apnea.

Some of the symptoms or risk factors of sleep apnea are:

  • Loud, irregular snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent nocturnal urination
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Falling asleep while driving
  • Loss of energy
  • Anxiety or depression
  • How Can You Be Tested?

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are concerned about how you sleep, your family doctor can conduct GSDC's
Preliminary Sleep Evaluation right in his or her office. The results of this evaluation will
be tabulated and interpreted by GSDC and a preliminary recommendation will be sent to
your physician. Your primary care physician is included in every stage of the process,
validating all recommendations and therapies. If a sleep study is indicated, GSDC will
schedule a visit for you at one of our sleep labs.

What Can You Expect?  

The test for sleep apnea is performed in our sleep laboratory where you will spend a
night in a private room. GSDC sleep labs offer comfortable rooms designed to simulate a
home bedroom environment. A highly-trained GSDC technician will attach special
sensors to you which will record activity related to sleep. These sensors are painlessly
applied to your skin. As you sleep, data is monitored in a separate room by the technician
through GSDC's polysomnographic computer system. Your test are reviewed and
interpreted by trained specialists in sleep medicine.

Is There a Cure for Sleep Apnea?

Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be successfully treated. There are a number of proven
sleep apnea therapies available. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most
common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP machines are small bedside devices that
provide a gentle stream of air through a face mask to keep the upper airway open during
sleep. Comfortable and non-intrusive, CPAP therapy provides welcome relief from sleep
apnea without disruptive changes to your normal routine. GSDC provides individual
follow-up and special care for patients placed on CPAP. 73% of GSDC patients follow
their physician's directions. This means that GSDC's patient service approach to CPAP
management will help you better manage your sleep apnea.
Dental appliances and breathing masks are other treatment options your physician might
consider. Whichever approach is most appropriate, Glendale Sleep Disorders Center will
work with your primary care physician to ensure that the best care is recommended and