Sleep apnea and sleep studies

Frequently asked questions about sleep apnea and weight-loss surgery

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while sleeping — it can last from 10 seconds to more than a minute. As a result you don’t get enough oxygen and wake up so breathing can start again. This often happens without you even knowing. Sometimes, it occurs more than 100 times per hour!

When I had surgery for something else they didn’t require a sleep study. Why do I need one now?

Sleep apnea is very common in people who have obesity — it’s estimated to be present in 2 out of 3 people. The longer sleep apnea goes untreated, the higher your risk of problems. Even if you have not had problems with previous surgeries, the longer you have untreated sleep apnea the greater your risk for problems.

I don’t wake up at night, so why would it need to be treated?

Treating sleep apnea can decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. It also can improve mood and fatigue and may make it easier to lose weight.

How is sleep apnea treated?

A therapy called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common way to treat sleep apnea. A CPAP machine creates the pressure needed to keep your airway open, usually through a mask. There are many different kinds of CPAPs. The sleep specialists will work with you to find one that is most comfortable.

Does everyone having bariatric surgery need a sleep study?

Yes, we require all patients to be tested for sleep apnea prior to surgery. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will need to be treated with a CPAP before surgery. It will be very important to wear this after surgery as well. 

How do I schedule a sleep study?

You can ask your primary doctor to refer you to a sleep medicine clinic or we can refer you during your medical visit. The process can take several months, so get started on this right away!

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