Sleep Apnea 101

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Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. These pauses may occur 30 times or more an hour.

“They wake up and they snore and the airway opens again and kind of - they do this frequently,” explains Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist, Dr. Murali Muppala.

Sleep apnea doesn’t just affect your sleep quality, the sudden drops in blood oxygen levels can lead to some serious health complications if left untreated.

“People who have obstructive sleep apnea, untreated obstructive sleep apnea for longer time, they tend to have very high risk for hypertension, very high risk for sudden cardiac death, and also risk for atrial fibrillations, sometimes even cardiac death,” says Dr. Muppala.

The seriousness of sleep apnea is a wakeup call for many people. With its link to obesity, it is a growing condition nationwide. Diagnosing and treating apnea is now an important screening opportunity for your cardiologist.

“The most important thing is to have diagnosed early and treated properly to minimize the risk of cardiac risks,” says Dr. Muppala.

Sleep apnea can be treated by lifestyle changes, including weight loss or quitting smoking. Often the use of a nighttime breathing device can alleviate the apnea. If all other treatments fail, surgery may be necessary.

“Most of the times it goes away if you treat it appropriately,” says Dr. Muppala.

Treating sleep apnea can reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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