Sleep Apnea

Purushotham Kotha. M.D., FACC

(619) 229-1995

8860 Center Drive , ste 400

La Mesa CA 91941 

  • *What is sleep apnea?

    Sleep apnea is a condition in which you experience abnormal pauses in your breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. When your breathing becomes abnormal, your body does not receive adequate oxygen. This sends a signal to your brain to wake you out of a relaxing deep sleep and move you into a lighter state of sleep. Normal breathing typically returns, often with a loud snort or choking sound. This cycle will continue throughout the night unless sleep apnea is properly diagnosed and treated.


    Click here for a short video explaining sleep apnea.


    Common Side Effects of Sleep Apnea:

    • Snoring
    • Restlessness during sleep, frequent nighttime awakenings
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Headaches
    • Morning sore throat
    • Decreased libido
    • Depression, moodiness, irritability
    • Frequent nighttime urination


    While there are factors that increase your risk for experiencing sleep apnea, the condition does not discriminate. Anyone can have sleep apnea regardless of gender, age or body type.

    Increased Risk Factors for developing sleep apnea:

    • Male gender
    • Obesity (BMI >30)
    • Large neck size
    • High blood pressure
    • Smoking
    • Family history of sleep apnea
    • Endocrine and metabolic disorders (ex: Diabetes)


    Effects of Sleep Apnea on Health:

    Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of developing:

    • High blood pressure
    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Heart failure
    • Diabetes
    • Work-related or driving accidents


    *About Sleep Screen(In developmet):

    42 million American adults, approximately 1 in 5 people, suffer from sleep apnea. However, experts estimate that 75% of cases of sleep-disordered breathing remain undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is difficult to detect on routine doctor’s visits. There is no blood test to diagnose sleep apnea. In addition, unless a partner or family member tells you that you snore, you may have no idea that your breathing is abnormal. If your healthcare provider does suspect that you may have sleep apnea, a proper diagnosis often requires a referral for a sleep study (polysomnography) performed within a designated sleep center. This study can cost up to thousands of dollars and may take weeks to months to be approved by insurance. All the while you continue to suffer from sleep apnea.

     Our goal is to help you seek professional care while avoiding common delays encountered within the healthcare system. Sleep screen will assess your risk factors of having sleep apnea from your home and alert you if you need further evaluation. In addition, the results of the study will be immediately available for your viewing.

               How does sleep screen work?

    Upon completion of the symptom and risk factor questionnaires, you will wear three sensors for the duration of one night’s sleep, while sleeping in the comfort of your own home. The sensors will record various aspects of your breathing such as your oxygen level and heart rate. The data collected from the sensors will be immediately recorded and analyzed within the Sleep Screen app to further assess your risk of having sleep apnea. This information will then be stored within the cloud and can be easily accessed at any time.



    *How is sleep apnea treated?

    Your physician will determine which treatment option is best for you depending on the type and severity of your sleep apnea as well as the state of your health. Treatments for sleep apnea include:

    • Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight helps to reduce your risk of sleep apnea, regardless of the medical treatment your physician may chose. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

    o   To track your weight click here­­­___ (insert link that creates graph to monitor daily weight).

    o   To start eating healthy click here__

    o   For exercise

    • CPAP or BiPAP: Machines that deliver air through a mask that is worn over the nose.The machine is worn continuously throughout the night and works to keep your airway open while you sleep.
    • Oral Appliances: designed to keep the throat open by bringing the jaw forward. Oral appliances may be used in mild cases of sleep apnea.
    • Surgery: usually an option after other treatment options have failed. Surgery may be done to open to the airway or reposition the jaw


  • *Patient Stories

    The following stories are of real people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Many people with the condition appear healthy and do not realize they are suffering from sleep apnea, as symptoms are often vague. Sleep apnea affects people from all walks of life, of various shapes and sizes. Even children and babies may experience sleep apnea.


    See what sleep apnea looks like:



    Even Shaquille O’neal has sleep apnea:

     Meet John:

    John is a 27-year-old medical student who complains of excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, depression, and “brain fog.” He must take a 2-hour nap every afternoon and has difficulty waking in the morning. He blames his symptoms on the stress of medical school and chooses not to seek medical treatment. He is 5’9” weighs 150lbs with a BMI of 22.1in/lb2, and his blood pressure is 110/70. John does not smoke, and he has no history of heart disease or diabetes.  While away at a medical conference, his hotel roommates notice that he snores loudly and gasps throughout the night. He is eventually diagnosed with moderate-severe sleep apnea that is treated with a CPAP machine.

     Meet Lisa:

    Lisa is 41-year-old mother of three who also has a fulltime job as a school administrator. She was experiencing daily fatigue that she attributed to her busy schedule. After complaining of frequent migraine headaches her neurologist ordered a sleep study. Lisa was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea and her headaches have disappeared with the continued use of her CPAP machine.

     Meet Robert:

    Robert, a 65-year-old obese man, comes to the doctor’s office accompanied by his wife. She states that she notices her husband snoring, gasping for air and aggressively moving his arms and legs throughout the night. Her husband is 5’7” and weighs 244lbs with a BMI of 38.2. He has a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and diabetes. He also suffers from depression and anxiety. Recently, he has also been complaining of shortness of breath, fatigue and increased urination at night. Sleep studies confirm that he has moderate sleep apnea and he is treated with a CPAP machine.


     Find a Sleep Facility Near You:

     Tips for a better night sleep:

    • Set a fixed bedtime and awakening time. If you designate your set bedtime as 9pm, go to bed between 8-10pm. This will help your body form a regular sleep cycle.
    • Avoid caffeine (even chocolate!) 4-6 hours before bed.
    • Avoid spicy, heavy or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bed. Instead reach for a high protein snack, such as nuts, before bed. This will stabilize your blood sugar and help you stay asleep throughout the night.
    • Avoid alcohol 4-6hrs before bed. While alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, a few hours later your blood alcohol level will drop. This will stimulate your brain to wake up, thus causing you to wake continuously throughout the night, and rise even earlier in the morning.
    • Avoid napping during the day. If you must nap, do so on the couch for no more than 30 minutes. Your bed should be reserved for nighttime sleeping only.
    • Exercise regularly, but not before bed. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bed will have a stimulatory effect and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
    • Do not use electronic devices (television, phone, tablet, computer) within 1 hour before bed. Electronics stimulate your brain and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Instead, try to read a book or listen to music that does not have words.


  • Smoking Cessation:

    Smoking is a risk factor for sleep apnea among many other dangerous diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease. Quit smoking now, ask your healthcare provider about medical options to help you quit or call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).

     Dietary Recommendation:

    Obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea. In order to maintain a healthy weight focus on eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fats (fish). Avoid processed foods, which are often high in sugar and saturated fat, and low in nutrients.


    Exercise pyramid from Heart Smart

    -**additional part of app to track pt weight loss?? Graph to chart daily weight??




If you would like to be screened and investigated for Sleep Apnea Please call 619-229-1995 with your health insurance info and request an appointment with:

Purushotham Kotha. M.D., FACC

(619) 229-1995

8860 Center Drive , ste 400

La Mesa CA 91942