Sleep Apnea Specialist

Christina M. McAlpin, MD

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor located in Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Snoring is more than a noisy inconvenience: It may be a symptom of sleep apnea, which can lead to depression, heart attack, and stroke. If you or an elderly parent snores or has sleep apnea, ENT specialist Christina M. McAlpin, MD can help. Dr. McAlpin treats sleep apnea in people of all ages, but she's especially passionate about resolving sleep issues in geriatric men and women. To find a solution to snoring in the Los Angeles area, call Dr. McAlpin’s friendly staff or book an appointment online.

Sleep Apnea Q&A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. If your sleep apnea is untreated, you may stop breathing up to hundreds of times during a single night. When you stop breathing, you deprive your brain and heart of life-giving oxygen.

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, in which your throat collapses and blocks your airway. A less common type, called central sleep apnea, occurs when your brain doesn’t signal your respiratory muscles to breathe.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The first symptom of sleep apnea is usually loud snoring. Other symptoms include:

  • Gagging or choking that awakens you
  • Waking up repeatedly  
  • Restless sleep
  • Dry or sore throat in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Brain fog or forgetfulness
  • Mood changes, including disinterest in sex

Who’s at risk for sleep apnea?

You may be at increased risk if you are:

  • Over 40 - senior citizens at an even greater risk
  • Overweight children and adults
  • Male

You are also at increased risk if you have:

  • Large neck, tonsils, or tongue
  • Small or recessed jawbone
  • GERD
  • Deviated septum
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems
  • Family history  

What happens if I don’t treat sleep apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous and lead to other severe conditions. It increases your risk for:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Poor performance at work and school
  • Accidents, including car crashes
  • High blood pressure and heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

How do doctors treat sleep apnea?

Lifestyle changes may be enough to resolve your sleep apnea. Losing weight and quitting smoking may help. If you can, try sleeping on your side to see if your sleep apnea improves. Dr. McAlpin also advises against using alcohol or sleeping pills to help you sleep.

When lifestyle measures don’t help, or if you have underlying conditions, Dr. McAlpin may recommend:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask that delivers air into your nose while you sleep
  • Dental devices that keep your airways open  
  • Electronic upper airway stimulator that prompts airway passages to stay open
  • Surgery to correct conditions such as a deviated septum, excess soft tissue in the throat, or a recessed jaw

Don’t take the risks that come with letting sleep apnea go untreated. Contact Christina M. McAlpin, MD by phone or online booking form for help today.