What is Sleep Apnea?

Man comfortably sleeping in his bed


Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep.

This means the brain and the rest of the body may not be getting enough oxygen. Sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and depression. In addition untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities such as work and school, motor vehicle accidents, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

Symptoms at night may be snoring, gasping for breath, insomnia, and restless sleep.

Sleep apnea can cause significant and sometimes serious daytime symptoms. As a result of insufficient sleep you may experience daytime sleepiness, fatigue, feeling the need of daytime naps, headaches, and irritability.

There are also many other reasons for disrupted sleep. Please discuss your symptoms with your physician. He/she may want you to have a sleep study to identify what is keeping you from a good night’s sleep.

Five Rivers Medical Center Sleep Lab is here to serve you. Please call us at 870-892-6235.  Article submitted by Susan Hawkins CRT, Director of Cardiopulmonary.



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