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Sleep Apnea

Partnering with You to Form a Treatment Plan

It’s easy to dismiss snoring as a nighttime nuisance, but sometimes there’s more to the snore. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious disorder. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is frequently interrupted during rest. You may not fully wake up during these brief periods, yet they can happen anywhere from a few times a night to more than a hundred.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three kinds of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, occurs when the tongue or tissues in the neck block the airway.
  • Central sleep apnea is due to the brain’s inability to effectively control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea involves aspects of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Regardless of the type, sleep apnea can harm your health — not only causing chronic exhaustion but also increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke, if left untreated. MultiCare’s sleep medicine specialists partner with you to determine if you have sleep apnea and form a treatment plan that will help you get the quality rest you need.


Sleep apnea can affect both adults and children. The most common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic morning headaches or throat discomfort
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent waking to urinate
  • Irritability, depression or other mood problems
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Loud snoring

Treatment Options

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you may need to undergo a sleep study, which may take place in one of MultiCare’s state-of-the-art sleep centers or in the privacy of your own home. Our specialists will review your study results and work with you to find the best course of treatment for you.

Some common treatment options for sleep apnea include:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy. A CPAP device comfortably delivers pressurized air through a mask to keep your airway open while sleeping. Masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can find the best fit.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): These oral devices open the airway during sleep by pulling the tongue and jaw forward. The fit is similar to a mouth guard worn during sports play. MADs must be fitted by a dentist.

Weight Loss: People who are overweight tend to have excess throat tissue that impedes the airway. Maintaining a healthy weight can lessen the severity of sleep apnea, sometimes eliminating it altogether. MultiCare’s Center for Weight Loss & Wellness offers evidence-based programs to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Learn more.   

Surgery: If you have severe obstructive sleep apnea, or your symptoms are not improving with other forms of treatment, surgery may be an option. Two common procedures include a tonsillectomy or a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which removes excess tissue in the throat.

The specific treatment or treatments recommended for you will depend on the cause and severity of your sleep apnea, as well as your overall health.

See a Sleep Specialist

If you would like to be evaluated for a sleep concern, call to schedule an appointment with one of our locations. Note that some insurance policies require a doctor referral for our services. Check with your insurance before your appointment to verify your coverage.

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