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Sleep Medicine

Quality Sleep is Essential to Good Health

Although often overlooked, quality sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being. A good night’s sleep can improve your memory, boost your immune system, strengthen your heart and even help you maintain a healthy weight. Conversely, conditions that prevent us from getting enough quality sleep can lead to morning headaches, irritability, memory problems, daytime sleepiness and a host of very serious health issues.

Call to Schedule an Appointment Today

To schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a University Hospitals sleep specialist, call 216-844-6000 or schedule online.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders that can have a negative effect on one’s quality of sleep and general health.

OSA occurs when the upper airway partially or fully closes during sleep, resulting in pauses or limitations of airflow to the lungs. This can lead to intermittent dips in oxygen levels, variability in the pulse rate, and frequent arousals from sleep. Along with impairing daytime functioning and restful sleep, OSA is associated with several medical problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, and stroke. People with obstructive sleep apnea often experience excessive snoring and nighttime gasping as frequent symptoms.

How is OSA diagnosed?

The diagnosis of OSA involves a comprehensive sleep history as well as a sleep study. Sleep studies can be performed in a sleep lab or in the home setting. For patients who do not have other serious health problems and have classic OSA symptoms, home sleep testing can be a convenient way to establish a diagnosis. Home sleep testing involves wearing a small apparatus to measure breathing flow, breathing effort, and oxygen level while you sleep in your own bed. For more complicated cases, in-lab sleep testing is the gold standard that provides the most sleep information. This involves measures of breathing, sleep movements, and the brain waves of sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatments

If a sleep study shows evidence of OSA, your disease may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Your sleep medicine team will work closely with other experts in otolaryngology (ENT), dentistry/orthodontics, oral surgery, psychology, and weight management to formulate a treatment plan that is personalized to your specific needs.

Recommended treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms and the level of medical risk for each patient. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, conservative, nonsurgical treatments to manage symptoms may be prescribed. For severe sleep apnea, there are several surgical procedures that may be recommended.

Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to:

Reduced quality of life: Apnea sufferers tend to be tired and sleepy throughout the day, unable to function well. They also exhibit poor memory and concentration.
Cardiovascular disease: OSA increases the risk of developing atrial fibrillation and other heart arrhythmias.
Impaired driving: Studies show people with sleep apnea are more likely to have motor vehicle accidents.
Relationship problems: Sleep apnea can negatively affect the health of a spouse or life partner, making them more prone to developing insomnia or other sleeping disorders.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for OSA

For patients with a confirmed diagnosis of OSA, one or more conservative treatment options may be the first recommended course of treatment.

Treatment options may include:

Surgical Treatments for Sleep Apnea

If medical interventions and lifestyle changes are not effective in resolving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, surgery may be recommended. University Hospitals offers a full range of surgical treatment options to help improve your sleep and enhance your quality of life.

Learn more about surgical treatments for OSA