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Sleep Apnea Syndrome, Ambulatory Care


Sleep apnea syndrome

is also called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), or sleep apnea. It is a condition where you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while you are sleeping. During sleep with OSAS, the muscles and tissues around your throat relax and block air from passing through. OSAS may happen many times while you are asleep.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • A hard time thinking, remembering things, or focusing on your tasks the following day
  • Headache or nausea
  • Bedwetting or waking up often during the night to pass urine
  • Feeling sleepy, slow, and tired during the day
  • No signs of breathing for 10 seconds or more while you sleep
  • Snoring loudly, snorting, gasping or choking while you sleep, and waking up suddenly because of these

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing

Treatment for sleep apnea syndrome

includes using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to keep your airway open during sleep. A mask is placed over your nose and mouth, or just your nose. The mask is hooked to the CPAP machine, which blows a gentle stream of air into the mask when you breathe. This helps keep your airway open so you can breathe more regularly. Extra oxygen may be given to you through the machine. You may be given a mouth device. It looks like a mouth guard or dental retainer and stops your tongue and mouth tissues from blocking your throat while you sleep. Surgery may be needed to remove extra tissues that block your mouth, throat, or nose.

Manage sleep apnea syndrome:

  • Avoid alcohol or sedative medicine before you go to sleep. Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles and tissues around your throat, which can block the airflow to your lungs.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess tissue around your throat may restrict your breathing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need to lose weight.
  • Sleep on your side or use pillows designed to prevent OSAS. This prevents your tongue or other tissues from blocking your throat. You can also raise the head of your bed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.