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Sleep Apnea Specialist

Paul E. Lapco, MD

Otolaryngologist located in Pompano Beach, FL

Sleep apnea is more than a snoring problem that makes you tired during the day. Without treatment, sleep apnea causes serious complications such as high blood pressure, weight gain, and an irregular heartbeat. At Dr. Paul Lapco, ENT, in Pompano Beach, Florida, you receive comprehensive care for sleep apnea. Paul Lapco, MD, begins with a sleep study, then creates a tailored treatment plan that eliminates your sleep apnea, restoring your sleep and lowering your risk of complications. To get a sleep apnea evaluation, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q&A

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that makes you stop breathing while you sleep. These episodes can occur hundreds of times during the night, and each time it happens, you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds.

When you sleep, the soft tissues and muscles in your mouth and throat relax. As a result, all of the tissues collapse toward the back of your throat, where they partially or completely cover the airway.

A partially covered airway causes snoring as the air you inhale makes the tissues vibrate. If the airway is completely blocked, you stop breathing.

As blood oxygen levels drop, your brain goes into high alert and wakes you just enough for you to start breathing again. However, you don’t usually become fully awake, so you don’t realize it happened.

What symptoms indicate I have sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Everyone who snores does not have sleep apnea. However, everyone with sleep apnea snores.

In addition to snoring, you may also have symptoms such as:

  • Excessive tiredness during the day
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes

Though you will notice your daytime symptoms, most people aren’t aware they snore. In most cases, someone else living in the house complains about your loud snoring.

What other conditions cause snoring?

Snoring that’s not related to sleep apnea has many possible causes, ranging from blocked nasal passages, a deviated septum, and your sleep position to weak throat muscles, obesity, and alcohol use.

Like sleep apnea, snoring affects the quality of your sleep. As a result, you may have the same symptoms as people with sleep apnea, depending on the severity of your snoring.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Dr. Lapco diagnoses sleep apnea with an overnight sleep study. Most people can do the sleep study at home. But if you have certain health conditions, such as heart disease, or Dr. Lapco suspects a sleep disorder other than sleep apnea, he may recommend having a sleep study in a clinic.

During a supervised sleep study, the technicians obtain more information than an at-home study. For example, they monitor your heart activity, brain waves, and eye, arm, and leg movements.

How is sleep apnea treated? 

If you have mild sleep apnea and you’re overweight, losing weight may solve the problem. Otherwise, the first line of treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). When using CPAP, you wear a mask that sends a steady flow of pressurized air into your nose and mouth. The air prevents your throat tissues from collapsing.

Though CPAP is the gold standard, an alternative treatment is a custom-fitted oral appliance. The appliance holds your lower jaw in a forward position, which prevents your tongue from falling back toward your throat.

Dr. Lapco also performs several types of surgery that stop sleep apnea. Some surgeries remove excess throat tissue, while others reduce the size of nasal turbinates and stiffen the soft palate.

If you’re tired during the day, suspect you have sleep apnea, or want treatment to stop snoring, call Dr. Paul Lapco, ENT, or book an appointment online today.