Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?

November 8, 2011 Updated Nov 8, 2011 at 9:08 AM EDT

By WKBW News

November 8, 2011 Updated Nov 8, 2011 at 9:08 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Do you have trouble sleeping? You might have a condition known a "sleep apnea."

Dr. Raul Vazquez stopped by Channel 7's "Eyewitness News This Morning" Tuesday to talk with Patrick Taney and Ginger Geoffery about this condition, and common misconceptions.

Click the video for more.

Here are some medical facts you should know. If you do think you suffer from sleep apnea, please consult a physician.

The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making the type of sleep apnea more difficult to determine. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea

Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep

Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea

Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
Morning headache

Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

When to see a doctor
Consult a medical professional if you experience, or if your partner observes, the following:

Snoring loud enough to disturb the sleep of others or yourself
Shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep
Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you're working, watching television or even driving

Risk factor
Obstructive sleep apnea

Excess weight. Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. However, not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight. Thin people develop the disorder, too.

Neck circumference. A neck circumference greater than 17 inches (43 centimeters) is associated with an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea. That's because a thick neck may narrow the airway and may be an indication of excess weight.

High blood pressure (hypertension). Sleep apnea is more common in people with hypertension.

A narrowed airway. You may have inherited a naturally narrow throat. Or, your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which can block your airway.

Being male. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and the risk also appears to rise after menopause.

Being older. Sleep apnea occurs two to three times more often in adults older than 65.

Family history. If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.

Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.

Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk likely drops after you quit smoking.

Prolonged sitting. Studies suggest that long periods of daytime sitting can cause fluids to shift from your legs when you recline at night, narrowing airway passages and possibly increasing the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.