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Sleep Apnea

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The Editorial Team at Sleep Care Pro is dedicated to educating the world on the importance of great sleep by providing expert analysis on Sleep Science, Hygiene and Health.

Reviewed by

Andrew McDowell, PA-C

Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine…


  • Andrew McDowell

    Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine and critical care. He has a specialized interest in sleep medicine and shares his research and knowledge on Sleep Care Pro. As a shift worker, Andrew understands the daily challenge of getting restful sleep. As a husband and a father, he understands how life can get in the way of developing good sleep hygiene. And as a practicing PA, he recognizes the important role that sleep plays in our healthspan. Primary care providers have little time to educate their patients on good sleep practices and are instead incentivized to prescribe sedating medications to patients. Andrew believes this is the wrong approach, and he founded Sleep Care Pro to help people engage sleep in a holistic manner. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates and is Board Certified by the NCCPA. He is a veteran of the United States Army and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is an advocate for the unique healthcare needs of veterans, and he believes high quality sleep is a cornerstone of good mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. This condition can lead to disrupted sleep and is associated with other health issues.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are three main types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which is caused by a blockage of the airway; Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), which occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe; and Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome, which is a combination of both OSA and CSA.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed through a sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram, which can be conducted in a sleep lab or at home. The study monitors various body functions during sleep, including brain electrical activity, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels.

What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?

Treatment options for sleep apnea vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of apnea. Common treatments include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and quitting smoking; using a CPAP machine to keep the airway open during sleep; oral appliances to keep the throat open; and in severe cases, surgery to remove tissue blocking the airway or to reposition the jaw.

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