Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, explains what sleep apnea is and it's danger. Dr. Mona also goes over risk factors and treatment options.
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Question: What is sleep apnea?
Dr. P. Mona Khanna: Now there's two kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive and central and the most common kind of obstructive. Risk factors for developing sleep apnea are, men if you are over weight or if you have a lot of soft tissue in this area. And what happens is that when you sleep, when you lie down at night, sometimes your body shuts off in the sense that you stopped taking a breath.
When you stop taking a breath, then your brain is deprived of oxygen, and after about minute or so, you may wake up. You don't know where you are or what happened or what you did and not realize that your body has made itself make up, because it wants you to take breath and get that oxygen back. So that's called sleep apnea, and there's the risk factors for it and it can cause excessive sleepiness during the day.
The good news is, we can treat sleep apnea. We can treat it with certain devices that actually force air. but the best way to treat to sleep apnea really if you are overweight is to lose weight and we find that, that helps especially men who are overweight, who have the bad kind of weight, that fat in the middle, once they loose that weight, then they stop having problems with sleep apnea.
Another hallmark of sleep apnea is snoring. Not everybody who has sleep apnea snores. Not everybody who snores has sleep apnea but most patients, most patients you have sleep apnea do snore and that's one of the signs that you may have it.
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