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Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment in Fort Worth

Sleep Apnea Therapy for Ft. Worth, Benbrook and surrounding communities.

Dr. Corbitt has completed UCLA's Sleep Medicine mini residency. This has given her the ability to screen patients for sleep apnea and refer them to a sleep clinic for a sleep study, if necessary. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to so many health issues; that’s why early diagnosis and treatment are very important.

Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? Does your partner complain that your snoring is affecting their sleep? If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of more than twelve million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep – as many as 20-50 times per hour, in some cases. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don't remember it, and many feel like they are getting a good night's sleep, when in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving sufficient deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day. The small time spent in the restorative phase of sleep affects your health in so many ways.

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice:

• Insomnia or difficulty sleeping • Loud snoring at night • Waking up at night short of breath • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing) • Headaches (especially in the morning) • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day • Falling asleep when driving or operating machinery

Do you suffer from any of the following? These can be "red flags" for sleep apnea.

• High blood pressure • Heart disease • History of stroke • Diabetes type 1 or 2 • Hypothyroidism • GERD (acid reflux) • Asthma • COPD • Morning headaches • Grinding or clenching your teeth

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

There are three categories of sleep apnea. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and occurs due to a physical blockage – usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Less common is central sleep apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don't receive the proper signal from the brain. Plus, some people suffer from "mixed" or "complex" sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central.

What are risk factors for sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in males than females, and it’s also more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone — regardless of gender or age — can suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors. It is also more common in males.

Is sleep apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can also lead to problems at work or school, as well as dangerous situations when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery, too; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as well as lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral - for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, watch their alcohol consumption, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. For mild or moderate sleep apnea, a custom oral device can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents the airway from collapsing. In more severe cases, a CPAP may be the best option. Treatment of sleep apnea is a team approach. The team consists of our office, your primary care doctor, and your sleep doctor. Treatment for sleep apnea is covered by most medical insurances.

What should I do if I suspect that someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?

Contact our practice, and we can schedule a sleep apnea screening appointment. We may recommend an overnight sleep study in order to diagnose the precise extent of the problem, which is needed to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Depending on your medical insurance, we may refer you directly to the sleep clinic or contact your primary care for the referral.

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