MLD Blog Image



When we think about sleep disorders, we often restrict it to insomnia (sleeplessness) or problems related to excessive sleep. Another common sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a sleep disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Do you or someone you care about have this problem? Talk to your doctor about it or find the best online physician to help you out.

The word "apnea" refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. When the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, it results in obstructive sleep apnea. Another form of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea, in which the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common than central sleep apnea.

How common is obstructive sleep apnea?

According to reports, around 22 million Americans suffer from lack of restorative sleep. Typical symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, difficulty with concentration or memory, and waking during the night feeling short of breath. If you think you fall into this category it is best to see a doctor about it as untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health consequences. Or you could use an online doctor mobile app like My live doctors to find the best physician online to help you with a treatment plan. With the correct treatment, many people see dramatic improvements to their quality of life.

Is sleep apnea dangerous?

Obstructive sleep apnea, or simply sleep apnea, can result in a broken sleep pattern. Fragmented breathing can lead to low blood oxygen levels. For people with sleep apnea, the combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen deprivation may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and mood and memory problems. Sleep apnea also increases the risk of drowsy driving. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to any health problem. Get yourself evaluated by your primary healthcare provider to prevent complicated OSA. You can get expert medical advice at My live doctors. Find the best online physician and book an online doctor appointment today!

Who Has Sleep Apnea?

OSA occurs in both males and females affecting all age groups. It is difficult to estimate the prevalence of childhood OSA because of various monitoring techniques, but a minimum prevalence of 2 to 3% is likely, with prevalence as high as 10 to 20% in habitually snoring children. 

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The exact cause of OSA is not clear, but there are a number of factors that increase the likelihood of getting sleep apnea. 

  • Small upper airway (or large tongue, tonsils or uvula) 
  • Being overweight
  • Having a recessed chin 
  • Small jaw or a large overbite
  • Large neck size (17 inches or greater in a man, or 16 inches or greater in a woman)
  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol use 
  • Age 40 or older 
  • Ethnicity (African-Americans, Pacific-Islanders and Hispanics)

Also, OSA seems to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic basis.

What are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?

Besides interrupted and paused breathing, here are some symptoms you should look out for:

  • Chronic snoring 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Learning and memory difficulties
  • Falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving. 

If you have one or more of the above symptoms go to your primary healthcare provider right away. If you’re looking for a second opinion, find the best online physician at My live doctors and get one without delay. Early intervention is key in preventing unwanted complications. 

It is important to note that is OSA is left untreated, the symptoms of sleep deprivation may affect quality of life. Symptoms of sleep apnea can include disturbed sleep, excessive sleepiness during the day, high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke or depression. 

Finding the best online physician is not a problem anymore. Instant access to top-notch physicians and specialists is in the palm of your hand. Online mobile apps like My live doctors facilitate patients to connect with best online physicians from home. Skip the long wait at the hospital and get treated on the go!

How do you treat sleep apnea?

If you think you have sleep apnea, the first thing to do is see your doctor. It would help if you brought with you a record of your sleep and fatigue levels throughout the day, and any other symptoms you might be having. If you are unable to reach your doctor anytime soon, find an online physician and share your findings online. My live doctors is a safe and secure online space where only you can access your medical records. 

Ask your family members if they notice you snore heavily, choke, gasp, or stop breathing during sleep. If you have access to a sleep center, visit it or you can ask your online physician to refer you to a sleep specialist. A sleep study might be required for the diagnosis of OSA.

The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This method of treatment is highly effective. Using the CPAP as recommended by your doctor is very important.

If you are having second thoughts, connect to the best online physician and discuss your concerns online. Find out about other treatment options as well. Certain lifestyle changes can also help improve symptoms like losing weight, stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Lie on your side instead of your back. Your online physician may recommend additional tips. 

The most important part of treatment for people with OSA is using the CPAP whenever they sleep. The health benefits of this therapy can be enormous, but only if used correctly. If you are unsure about how to use your CPAP or you're experiencing side effects of wearing the appliance, ask your online physician or talk to the doctor who prescribed it and ask for assistance. 

It is important to treat sleep disorders as soon as possible. For more information, please visit