Ohio Neurologic Institute

Specializing in Neurologic and Sleep Disorders

Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea stop breathing when they sleep.  There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central.  In obstructive sleep apnea the airway becomes blocked (obstructed) during sleep.    Central sleep apnea occurs when a patient stops breathing and the efforts to breath also cease temporarily.  Central sleep apnea is often seen in patients with cardiac problems. 


Patients with sleep apnea often awaken repeatedly throughout the night (in order to start breathing again).  Often the patient is unaware of the awakenings (also called microarousals) but may be drowsy the next day. 


The symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, daytime drowsiness, restless sleep, difficulty concentrating, depression or irritability, morning headaches, and high blood pressure.


Sleep apnea was the most commonly identified cause of  hypertension in the United States. 


Sleep apnea also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and doubles the risk of stroke. 


Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem that is more common in obese and overweight patients.  Because of the epidemic of obesity in the United States — sleep apnea is increasing.


 In addition to obesity there are other causes of  sleep apnea.

A small or recessed jaw (micrognathia or retrognathia) can predispose to sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea can be seen in thin people or can be seen in patients after weight gain.   The incidence of sleep apnea in women increases after the menopause. 


 Sleep apnea can be seen in children and is becoming more common with the growing epidemic of obesity in childhood.  In recent years sleep apnea is often listed as a reason for tonsillectomy in children in the United States.

All information included in this website is posted as a courtesy service to current and prospective patients and their families. Information here should not be substituted for direct advise from a physician or a physician’s representative. If unclear about your medical condition, you should contact your physician immediately.

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