Sleep Apnea Specialist

Alexandria Aesthetics

Aesthetic Specialist & Internal Medicine located in Alexandria, VA

About 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, which can drastically hinder your quality of life and be dangerous. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, internal medicine physician Dr. Kantha Stoll can help. She treats sleep apnea at Alexandria Adult Primary Care in Alexandria, Virginia, so you can get the quality sleep you deserve. Call to learn more about sleep apnea treatments, or schedule an appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that causes breathing to continuously start and stop, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Different types of sleep apnea include:

  • Central sleep apnea (your brain doesn’t signal breathing muscles properly)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (your throat muscles relax during sleep)
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome (you have both central and obstructive sleep apnea)

Regardless of what’s causing sleep apnea, the symptoms are the same.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Chronic fatigue is a main symptom of sleep apnea, as you’re not getting the high-quality sleep you need each night. A comprehensive list of symptoms includes:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Waking up not feeling rested, even when you’ve slept all night
  • Short periods of not breathing while you sleep
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth or headaches upon waking
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Problems staying asleep
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Snorting or choking sounds during sleep

Having untreated sleep apnea puts you at risk for developing other health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, stroke, and kidney, eye, and liver problems. Complications during pregnancy may also arise.

What causes sleep apnea?

Some of the main risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a thick neck
  • Being male
  • Alcohol, tobacco, or sedative use
  • Nasal congestion
  • Having a narrowed airway (from enlarged tonsils, for example)

Ways to lower your risk of developing sleep apnea include maintaining a healthy weight, limiting or avoiding alcohol, avoiding tobacco smoke, and having your tonsils removed.

How is sleep apnea treated?

To diagnose sleep apnea, Dr. Stoll goes over your medical history, performs a physical exam, and recommends sleep studies if necessary. If you have sleep apnea, Dr. Stoll works with you to come up with a treatment plan that best meets your needs. She may recommend:

  • Lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking or losing weight)
  • Treating nasal allergies
  • Using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) breathing machine when you sleep
  • Wearing an oral appliance when you sleep
  • Using expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) devices placed over your nostrils
  • Supplemental oxygen therapy
  • Surgery, in severe cases

When you’re ready to discuss sleep apnea treatments to get the quality sleep you deserve, call Alexandria Adult Primary Care or book an appointment online today.