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Sleep Medicine

  • Do you have to take a sleep aid on a regular basis.  OTC or prescribed?
  • Do you frequently nod off during the day?
  • Do you spend a lot of time lying in bed awake at night?
  • Do you wake up in the morning as tired as you were when you went to bed the night before?
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA is a breathing problem that occurs during sleep when the upper airway is blocked or obstructed temporarily. It is a disease that affects both men and women and can be diagnosed any age. It is believed that approximately 80 - 90% of the population suffers from moderate to sever OSA, with a majority of this population being untreated. With time, untreated OSA can lead to serious health problems.
Who is at risk for OSA?
  • People who are overweight are more likely to have OSA
  • Family history of OSA
  • People with large tonsils or jaw problems
  • Other certain medical problems
What are the symptoms of OSA?
These are some common complaints of patients with OSA:
  • Snoring
  • Witnessed periods of apnea, or pauses in your breating, during your sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent awakenings from sleep or restless sleep
  • Feeling tired or unrefreshed when waking, even after many hours of sleep
How do we diagnose OSA?
Polysomnography, or Sleep Study, is used to diagnose OSA. Once evaluated in our office and your symptoms/problems are discussed, if suspicious for OSA, you will then be referred for a sleep study. The sleep studies are typically done at a sleep lab where you will be required to spend the night. Patients typically arrive at the lab in the early evening and are discharged early the next morning. Once you arrive at the lab, a technician will place you on a monitor and during the course of the night will record brain waves, breathing efforts, airflow, oxygen saturation and leg movements. This information is then transmitted for physician interpretation and diagnosis.
Home sleep studies are also available and will be ordered as deemed appropriate by physician.
What if I have OSA?
If your Sleep Study indicates that you have OSA, it may be recommended that you begin treatment with CPAP therapy. CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is used in the treatment of most OSA patients. The positive pressure air is delivered via a mask that fits snugly over your mouth or nose to splint the airway open and prevent collapse or obstruction of the airway. The amount of required pressure needed to prevent apnea is patient specific and will be adjusted as needed to control apneas. Once started on CPAP therapy, you will continue to be monitored closely for changes in symptoms or problems with therapy itself.
Why do I need CPAP for my OSA?
Untreated OSA has been linked with increased cardiovascular morbiditiy and mortality. Patients with certain diseases such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, type II diabetes, and/or history of stroke are particularly at risk for exacerbations or complications related to their untreated OSA. Increased daytime sleepiness related to lack of sleep can cause tiredness while driving, which can lead to car accidents. The use of positive airway pressure, when used properly, has been shown to reduce these risks and overall improve patient well-being.
Here are Central Georgia Pulmonary Associates, we are experts in diagnosing and treating OSA. We will start with an initial evaluation to assess and discuss your symptoms. Set up your consultation today to see if we can help you on the road to better health and a better you!