At ENTACC, our patients are our priority.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Testing & Sleep Services performed at ENTACC

One of the most common sleep problems, sleep apnea, is a disorder in which breathing is interrupted periodically throughout the night. These pauses, or gaps, in breathing may be accompanied by choking or gasping but rarely awaken the sleeping individual. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, many of them unaware of their condition.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax and droop during sleep, blocking the airway and causing breathing difficulty. It is by far the most common form of the disorder. Central sleep apnea is the brain failing to control breathing during sleep; this is rare.

The main sign of sleep apnea is chronic, loud snoring (link to snoring page). Other signs of poor sleep hygiene include daytime drowsiness, lack of concentration, poor blood oxygen levels, memory loss, irritability, and depression. You may experience frequent morning headaches and sore throats and wake up with shortness of breath and a dry mouth.

At most risk for sleep apnea are those who are male, overweight, and over the age of 40, though sleep apnea can—and does—affect people of both sexes and all ages. Other factors contributing to sleep apnea include natural aging, excessive or bulky throat tissue, large soft palate or uvula, small jaw, large neck, restless leg syndrome, chronic bronchitis, and oversized tonsils or adenoids.

Allergies, sinus infections, tobacco use, and alcohol all may increase the risk as well.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

It is more than just a nuisance that robs you of sleep. Untreated sleep apnea and lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health issues such as lung disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmia. If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a visit with your physician to perform a thorough physical examination and may set up a sleep study test.

You may be able to reduce the severity of your symptoms by implementing lifestyle changes. Try losing weight, breathing exercises, cutting back or eliminating alcohol (especially before bedtime), and quitting smoking. Sleeping on your side instead of your back and elevating your head may also help.

The preferred method of treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP involves controlled bursts of air pumped into your throat while you sleep, delivered through a mask worn over the nose and mouth and attached to a machine. Other options for treatment include oral mouth guards that reposition the lower jaw and tongue, nasal breathing strips, and surgery.

Erin O. from Downingtown, PA

“I had stopped taking my allergy medicine and ended up with the worse sinus infection of my life. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County genuinely will provide you with the best care. I was overwhelmed by the kindness, concern, and sense of urgency everyone gave. My phone calls were returned promptly and time was made to see me in the office when it was an emergency.”

Connie J. from West Chester, PA

“I can say after years of coming to Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County, my relationship and trust with Dr. Marriotti has grown tremendously. He is personable, friendly and I appreciate his input with my hearing condition. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County is always cheery and pleasant. I enjoy my visits and always leave feeling like I am in good hands.”

Dauna P. from University Lincoln, PA

“I am so grateful for the care Dr. Picariello has given for my complex and serious brain diagnosis. He has made such an impression on the way the process was handled. I shall never forget him and how humble he was when dealing with my condition. He is truly one of the best around and I am fortunate for his high ethical standards and professionalism.”

Kathy S. from Schwenksvile, PA

“The knowledge, encouragement, concern, and individual attention the doctors of Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County had demonstrated was far beyond my expectations. The office atmosphere is professional yet friendly. The doctors know their profession well and are able to explain in basic understandable terms. They made sure we were comfortable and took their time going over everything extensively.”

James B., from Coatesville, PA

“The allergy shot process has been a great experience and has prevented a reoccurrence of my nasal polyps, and decreased the need for my asthma inhaler. The allergy staff is excellent.”