Sleep Apnea Specialist

Ryan R. Stevens, M.D., PC

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors located in Corvallis, OR

Sleep apnea does more than keep you from getting a good night's rest; it also increases your risk of certain health complications like heart attack and stroke. At Ryan R. Stevens, M.D., Dr. Stevens is an experienced ear, nose, and throat specialist offering men and women in Corvallis, Oregon, a variety of services to diagnose and treat conditions like sleep apnea. If you feel think you have sleep apnea, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition involving your breathing while you sleep. When you have sleep apnea, your breathing starts and stops, which causes your blood oxygen levels to drop. These fluctuations in your oxygen levels put a strain on your cardiovascular system and can trigger serious long-term health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by relaxed throat muscles that block your airway periodically while you’re sleeping.

You can develop sleep apnea for several reasons, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a narrowed airway
  • Nasal congestion due to allergies or anatomical issues

Sleep apnea is also more common once you reach middle age.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea causes a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Irritability or inability to focus
  • A dry or sore throat upon waking

It’s also common to experience loud snoring, tossing and turning, or gasping and choking that not only disrupts your own sleep but disturbs those around you.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Dr. Stevens diagnoses sleep apnea through a comprehensive physical examination of your neck, nose, mouth, palate, and throat. In many cases, this includes using a flexible endoscope with a tiny camera to look for signs of obstruction, infection, or enlargements of your adenoids or tonsils.

Depending on your exam, Dr. Stevens might also recommend an at-home or laboratory-conducted sleep study to determine the severity of your condition.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Dr. Stevens offers a variety of sleep apnea treatments based on your diagnosis. For mild cases, he usually suggests lifestyle changes, including smoking cessation and weight loss. Moderate or severe cases of sleep apnea generally require additional treatments, including:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

CPAP machines deliver a supply of air pressure through a mask you wear over your nose while you sleep. This constant air pressure keeps your upper airway passages open.

Oral appliances

This sleep apnea treatment is designed to keep your throat open by shifting your jaw into a forward position while you sleep.

Surgery

Dr. Stevens offers Level III surgery to correct obstructions anywhere in your upper respiratory tract that are causing sleep apnea, including obstructions in your tongue, throat, or nose.

For more information on sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, call Ryan R. Stevens, M.D. or schedule an appointment online today.