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sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is characterized by a cessation of breathing or very shallow breathing during sleep.  The blood oxygen levels drops and the breaths resume with a loud snort or gasping sound.  This occurs because throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal, tonsils and adenoids are large, anatomic abnormalities create smaller airway, or excess weight makes it harder to keep the throat area open central.


Symptoms may include:



Causes may include:


  • obesity
  • enlarged tonsils or uvula
  • low soft palate
  • redundant tissue in soft palate
  • tonsillar pillars
  • large or posteriorly located tongue
  • craniofacial abnormalities
  • heart disease
  • neurologic conditions like stroke and brain tumors

Treatment may include:


  • bilevel positive airway pressure - boosts the weak breathing pattern of central sleep apnea
  • adaptive servo-ventilation (asv)
  • supplemental oxygen
  • weight loss
  • modification of activities or habits
  • medications

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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