Sleep Apnea

Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS -  - Bariatric & General Surgery

West Houston Surgical Associates

Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS

Bariatric & General Surgery located in Houston, TX

Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing momentarily at intervals throughout the night, and it’s a particular problem in people who are overweight. Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, of West Houston Surgical Associates in Houston is a leading expert in weight loss surgery, so if you’re finding it hard to lose the pounds and sleep apnea is becoming an issue, Dr. Reilly can help. Call the clinic today, or book an appointment online.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition many people aren’t aware they have because it causes you to stop breathing when you’re asleep. Unless someone else sees this happening, you might have no clue there’s a problem. Sleep apnea is not something to be taken lightly, as the constantly interrupted breathing pattern starves your brain and body of oxygen as you sleep.

Sleep apnea increases the risks of suffering from:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Headaches

If sleep apnea isn’t treated, it can start to affect your daily life, making you feel tired and sleepy and affecting your ability to concentrate.

What are the causes of sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) comes from a blockage in your airway, most often the soft tissues in the back of your throat collapsing as you sleep. OSA is more common than central sleep apnea, which is caused by a problem with the respiratory control center in the brain and results in interference in sending messages to the breathing muscles.

You’re more likely to be afflicted with sleep apnea if you’re:

  • Overweight
  • Male
  • Over 40

Other risk factors include having:

  • A neck diameter exceeding 17 inches in men, or 16 inches in women
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Large tonsils or tongue
  • Small jawbone

Obstruction of the nasal passages such as tissue swelling caused by infections and allergies or a deviated septum can also cause sleep apnea.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

As sleep apnea affects you when you’re unconscious, you’re unlikely to be aware that you’re not breathing properly. However, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Feeling sleepy through the day
  • Having a sore or very dry throat on waking
  • Headaches on waking
  • Waking up sometimes and gasping for breath
  • Feeling sleepy when you’re driving
  • Having trouble with your memory
  • Experiencing disturbed sleep
  • Mood changes

These symptoms may not be due to sleep apnea, but you should get yourself checked out to determine the cause.

How is sleep apnea treated?

You can make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of sleep apnea, including:

  • Reducing your weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Changing sleeping position
  • Avoiding sleeping pills and alcohol

For more serious cases,  several medical treatments are available, such as the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, which provides a constant flow of air into your nose as you sleep, or specialized dental devices that keep your airway open overnight.

There are also surgical procedures that correct sleep apnea caused by a deviated nasal septum or other physiological problems.

Weight loss surgery is an effective treatment for patients with sleep apnea who are finding it hard to lose weight by any other method. Dr. Reilly is highly skilled in performing weight loss surgery, so call the clinic today, or book an appointment online.