Not feeling rested? It may be sleep apnea.

Extreme sleepiness during the day is the most common symptom of a condition called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a common, yet serious disorder that occurs when breathing stops for 10 seconds or more during a night’s sleep. Certain problems in the airway cause interruptions in breathing during sleep. When the airway narrows, it can result in snoring, periods of no breathing, and frequent arousals in sleep.

Besides feeling very drowsy and waking up at night, other symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

  • Loud snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep

  • Morning headaches

  • Trouble with concentration or memory

  • Mood changes, depression

In some patients, apnea occurs when the throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep. Sleep Apnea also may be triggered in obese patients when an excess amount of tissue blocks the airway.


Sleep Apnea is serious. Untreated, it raises the risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, irregular heart rhythms, heart attack, stroke, memory loss, vehicle accidents, and even death. Drowsy driving accounts for more fatal car accidents than all other vehicle accidents including intoxicated drivers. Some people also lose their jobs due to falling asleep at work or reduced productivity.

If you have symptoms of Sleep Apnea night after night, talk to your doctor. You may need to complete a sleep study. During the sleep test, electrodes and sensors monitor a patient’s brain waves, cardiac rhythms, oxygen levels and respiration.



The vast majority of people suffering from Sleep Apnea never seek help for their condition. The National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 18 million Americans have Sleep Apnea and nearly 95% are undiagnosed. Fortunately, treatment is easily available and very effective.

Pointe Coupee General Hospital has opened a new Sleep Disorder Center to diagnosis and treat Sleep Apnea. The test requires the patient to spend the night in the Sleep Disorder Center where the monitoring takes place. For most patients, one overnight stay is all that is needed to determine the sleep disorder and its cause. The Sleep Disorder Center’s physician interprets the test results and offers treatment options. The patient’s family doctor or specialist is provided with the test results. If you or a loved one is suffering from one or more symptoms of Sleep Apnea, discuss it with your physician soon. You can get the help you need at Pointe Coupee General Hospital’s Sleep Disorder Center.

For more information, call Pointe Coupee General Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center at (225) 278-0872.