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Sleep Disorders

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Leaders in Providing Comprehensive Pulmonary Care and Sleep Medicine Services, All Under One Roof, for patients in and around Altoona, PA

Sleep Apnea Disorder | Sleep Specialist in Altoona, PA

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea affect 40 million Americans and contribute to lost productivity, car accidents, and other health problems. In addition to these dangerous side effects,. more-recent studies indicate that cases of chronic insomnia may lead to increased vulnerability to medical and psychiatric disorders and greater absenteeism.

Through the Sleep Disorder Network at the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania, people who regularly struggle for a good night’s sleep can receive diagnosis and treatment for their sleep apnea. The facility has the capacity to study four patients per night. Patients are seen by the doctor ahead of time to discuss their problems and they are scheduled for a visit overnight at the sleep laboratory. To learn more about our sleep services, call the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania, 814-946-2845 extension 300 or book an appointment online!


What is Sleep Apnea? What Causes It?

Sleep apnea is a decrease in airflow that occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep. Often, this causes patients to fall in and out of sleep hundreds of times a night, usually with no memory of waking up. It occurs in approximately 1 to 9 percent of the population and is more common in males than females. 

Sleep apnea can be sorted into three key types: obstructive, central (brain caused) and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. In cases of OSA, the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep, which results in a cessation of breath. Snoring, obesity and daytime sleepiness are all associated with OSA.

What Other Illnesses are Associated with Sleep Apnea?

More and more research is highlighting that poor sleep puts the body at risk of developing serious health issues.Sleep apnea specifically is associated with the following conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The main symptoms of sleep apnea are daytime sleepiness and fatigue, caused by the lack of deep sleep each night. Other symptoms are:

  • Decreased motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor mood and irritability
  • Loud snoring

Who’s at Risk of Developing Sleep Apnea?

The risk factors commonly associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity, especially in patients with upper body fat
  • Having a large neck, more than 17" for a male and 16" for a female
  • Having a recessed chin
  • Aging
  • Being a certain ethnicity (African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic individuals have a greater risk of developing sleep apnea)

How Do We Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

People with sleep apnea are usually not aware that they have the condition, and are only clued in to their poor sleep patterns by their partners. That’s why it’s so important for individuals to take these complaints seriously.

When you see a doctor for a serious sleep problem, you'll be put through a sleep study, or polysomnography, to measure specific sleep characteristics. At the Sleep Disorder Network in the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania, we have a state-of-the-art sleeping testing facility, set up like a hotel room so that patients are made to feel as comfortable as possible during their study.

Will I Need A Mask if I Have Sleep Apnea?

One of the mainstays of treating sleep apnea is the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilator. It works to keep the airway or throat open throughout the night, preventing the cessation of breath.

While many patients are intimidated by the prospect of wearing a mask, it’s important to take a deep breath and not worry. With the right mask, using a  CPAP machine becomes much easier. In fact,  there are partial face masks, full face masks, and every kind in between! The Sleep Disorder Network has many kinds of masks available for each patient, and is happy to help you find one that you can easily and comfortably use in the interest of maintaining your health.