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Sleep Apnea

Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we're also dedicated to your overall wellness. Dr Gregory Harris, Jr is highly trained in detecting, testing and treating Sleep Apnea.  He also works closely with area physicians to provide the best treatment for your condition.

Do you awake feeling tired?  Do you experience excessive sleepiness during the day?  Does your partner complain of your snoring?  Have you been told you actually stop breathing during the night?

If you ansewered yes to any of these questions, then you may have Sleep Apnea.

There are 3 types of apnea:

  1. Central Sleep Apnea occurs because your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
  2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing
  3. Mixed Sleep Apnea is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in and breathing may be inadequate for 10 to 20 seconds. This may lower the level of oxygen in your blood and cause a buildup of carbon dioxide.

Your brain senses this impaired breathing and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don't remember it.

You can awaken with a transient shortness of breath that corrects itself quickly, within one or two deep breaths. You may make a snorting, choking or gasping sound.

This pattern can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour, all night long. These disruptions impair your ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep, and you'll probably feel sleepy during your waking hours.

People with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, many people with this type of sleep apnea think they slept well all night.

How many sleep apnea events are normal during sleep?

Normal sleep is fewer than 5 events per hour of sleep.

Mild sleep apnea is 5-14 events per hour.

Moderate sleep apnea is 15-29 events per hour.

Severe sleep apnea is 30 or more events per hour.

Complications of sleep apnea include:

  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Complications with medications and surgery (even sedation)
  • Eye problems
  • Sleep-deprived partners
  • Behavoiral/attention problems in children (Yes!  Children who snore are at high risk for sleep apnea)
  • People may also complain of memory problems, mood swings or feelings of depression, morning headaches, and a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia).

If you suspect you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea...

Call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Gregory Harris, Jr.  He and his trained assistants will assess your risk factors and examine you for signs of sleep apne.  If warrented, he will prescribe a Home Sleep Study  (such as the one pictured below) which we can convienently provide for you.