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Sleep Surgeon Question 44

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Question 44 - Why do I stop breathing as I fall asleep?

From: B. D.

I have had mild sleep apnea for years. I have been able to deal with it by not sleeping on my back. I begin the sleep process by laying on my left side, and as I am relaxing I shift to my right side and usually fall asleep in a few minutes. Once I get to sleep I usually don't have any problems.

Recently, there has been a significant change. It doesn't matter what position I am in. As I am falling asleep, I stop breathing. As far as I can tell it is only a second or two before I am aware and awake.

Is this the central sleep apnea I am reading about? What can I do? Is taking a sleep aid a good thing in this case?

Response Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
Aug 13, 2008

Sleep apnea progress with aging. If you have untreated mild sleep apnea for years, it is quite possible that our sleep apnea has worsened based on the worsening symptoms. I would recommend a sleep study to find out the status of your apnea.

Kasey Li, MD

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