Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea (also known as obstructive sleep apnea) is a disorder causing people to repeatedly stop breathing for short periods of time while they are sleeping. The lapses in breathing are caused by the inability of the muscles in the back of the throat to keep the airway open. These episodes can happen a few times or hundreds of times each night and cause loud snoring and snorting or gasping.

Depending on the severity of a patient’s sleep apnea, our sleep specialists will recommend treatment options that may include lifestyle changes, specially made mouthpieces, the use of a breathing device at night, like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or surgery.

What you should know about sleep apnea

  • More than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. 
  • It is important to seek treatment for sleep apnea, as long-term fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels from obstructed breathing can lead to hypertension, heart disease, mood or memory problems, and difficulty performing everyday tasks like driving.
  • There are many risk factors that contribute to sleep apnea, including being overweight; smoking and alcohol use; having a small upper airway, recessed chin, small jaw, large overbite or large neck size; being over age 40; ethnicity; and genetics.

Why choose Geisinger for your sleep apnea care?

  • We offer quick scheduling of diagnostic sleep studies in our specially designed sleep centers so you can get back to restful sleeping as soon as possible.
  • Our sleep centers have round-the-clock scheduling options for shift workers so they can be tested during their normal sleeping times.
  • Our collaborative sleep team includes sleep specialists and specialty physicians in pulmonology, neurology, otolaryngology, psychiatry and dentistry.

Treatment options

Our sleep specialists understand disrupted sleep due to sleep apnea can have a significant impact on everyday life and overall health. We use a variety of methods to treat sleep apnea, including:

  • Specially made mouthpieces
  • CPAP machine or other assistive breathing devices
  • Surgery

Specialties and institutes

Connect with other specialties at Geisinger to learn more about these treatments.

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