Sleep Apnea

Aurora ENT -  - Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor

Aurora ENT

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors located in Anchorage, AK

Sleep Apnea Specialist
Sleep apnea — a condition in which breathing stops for brief periods of time during sleep — can be caused by enlarged tonsils, enlarged adenoids, or the anatomy of the throat. Dr. Mary Totten at Aurora ENT works to identify the underlying cause and creates a customized treatment plan for sleep apnea patients in the Anchorage, Alaska area.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

Aurora ENT

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the patient stops breathing for periods of time at night.

What kinds of sleep apnea are there?

There are three categories of sleep apnea:

1) Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form and it occurs due to excess tissue blockage when the throat muscles relax.

2) Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain isn’t sending the correct signals to maintain proper breathing during sleep.

3) Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.


What are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?

Many people find out they have sleep apnea based on the observations of their partners, who notice that they stop breathing periodically throughout the night and might “startle” back into breathing. Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Shortness of breath at night
  • Fatigue: Falling asleep during the day
  • Irritability, mood changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Sore throat
  • Lack of concentration, focus
  • Headaches in the morning

What causes sleep apnea?

In the vast majority of cases, sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the throat. This obstruction can be caused by a variety of different conditions, including excess tissue in the throat, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal inflammation, or relaxing of the throat and tongue muscles.

Who is at highest risk of developing sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is more likely to affect men than women. Other risk factors include being overweight, having a large neck circumference, having a family history of sleep apnea, smoking, and drug and alcohol use, including sleeping medications.

What complications can result from sleep apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea can increase the patient’s risk for severe complications, including high blood pressure, heart attack, arrhythmias, type 2 diabetes, risks associated with general anesthesia, liver function problems, and metabolic syndrome. In addition, the loud snoring associated with sleep apnea can result in relationship and social problems.

When is treatment necessary?

Because sleep apnea is associated with so many potential complications, treatment should be sought as soon as sleep apnea is suspected. Early diagnosis and intervention can decrease the risk of serious complications.

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Aurora ENT
3340 Providence Drive
A461
Anchorage, AK 99508