Sleep Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about sleep.

What is sleep apnea?

Certified Nurse Practitioner Rhoda Chamberlain discusses sleep apnea. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder in which the airway closes or becomes obstructed while you're sleeping. This can happen for several reasons, one of them the airway can become just obstructed by your tongue, the airway can actually be too.


Sleep apnea is when partly or fully blocked airways cause you to stop breathing for a few seconds to a few minutes during sleep. It’s usually a partner who notices the symptoms, which include snoring or choking or gasping for breath during sleep. Another clue can be feeling tired or falling asleep during the day. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, heart enlargement, abnormal heart rhythms, poor memory or concentration, irritability and depression.

A sleep study can diagnose sleep apnea, but treatment depends on the cause and severity. For example, if you are overweight and have a mild case of sleep apnea, losing weight and sleeping on your side can be enough. In moderate to severe cases, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask might be needed to force air into your nose and mouth so you don’t stop breathing. In rare cases, surgery might be needed.

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Mansi Amin, MD, SureCare Medical Center; Nicholas Davis, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Irina Gendler, MD, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Aaron Kaibas, DO, Upper Valley Cardiology; Christopher Lauricella, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Angela Long-Prentice, MD, Northwest Dayton Physicians; Erin Mathews, MD, Vandalia Medical Center; Katrina Paulding, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Tammy Taylor, MD, The Pediatric Group; Dori Thompson, MD, Springboro Family Medicine; Pam Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care; J. Layne Moore, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Mark Ringle, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians; Michael Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Rhoda Chamberlain, APRN, CNP, Jamestown Family Medicine; Nicholas Davis, MD, Jamestown Family Medicine

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