515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
(716) 373-2600

Olean General Hospital

Programs & Services

Sleep Center at Olean General Hospital

Sleep Studies - Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea means "cessation of breath." It is characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur during sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. In other words, the airway becomes obstructed at several possible sites. It is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. The risks of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea include heart attacks, strokes, impotence, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, obstructive sleep apnea causes daytime sleepiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems. The severity of the symptoms may vary.

The upper airway can be obstructed by excess tissue in the airway, large tonsils, a large tongue and usually includes the airway muscles relaxing and collapsing when asleep. Another site of obstruction can be the nasal passages. Sometimes the structure of the jaw and airway can be a factor in sleep apnea.

The symptoms of sleep apnea may include:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep. (The patient may be unaware of this symptom -- usually the bed partner is extremely aware of this).

Associated features may include:

  • loud snoring
  • morning headaches
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • a dry mouth upon awakening
  • chest retraction during sleep in young children (chest pulls in)
  • high blood pressure
  • overweight
  • irritability
  • change in personality
  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • excessive perspiring during sleep
  • heartburn
  • reduced libido
  • insomnia
  • frequent nocturnal urination (nocturia)
  • restless sleep
  • nocturnal snorting, gasping, choking (may wake self up)
  • rapid weight gain
  • confusion upon awakening

How does the doctor determine if I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

To accurately diagnose if you suffer from sleep apnea or a related sleep disorder, at Olean General Hospital we will most likely conduct a sleep test, called a polysomnography. Our polysomnogram is an overnight test in our sleep lab that involves monitoring brain waves, muscle tension, eye movement, respiration, oxygen level in the blood and audio monitoring for snoring, gasping, etc.

How is Sleep Apnea treated?

Mild Sleep Apnea is usually treated by some behavioral changes. Losing weight, sleeping on your side are often recommended. There are oral mouth devices (that help keep the airway open) on the market that may help to reduce snoring by bringing the jaw forward, elevating the soft palate, or retaining the tongue from falling back in the airway and blocking breathing. Sleep Apnea is a progessive condition that may worsen as you age and should not be taken lightly.

Moderate to severe Sleep Apnea is usually treated with a C-PAP (continous positive airway pressure). C-PAP is a machine that blows air into your nose via a nose mask, keeping the airway open and unobstructed. For more severe apnea, there is a Bi-level (Bi-PAP) machine. The Bi-level machine is different in that it blows air at two different pressures. When a person inhales, the pressure is higher and in exhaling, the pressure is lower.

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Sleep Center
Restless Legs Sleep Studies
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Sleepiness Scale Download Brochure
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Sleepiness Scale Sleepiness Scale
Take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
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