An Introduction to Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dr. John Krehlik stands out as the only board-certified sleep physician in southeast Alaska and the first internal medicine physician statewide to secure this certification. Dr. John Krehlik has owned and practiced at a private sleep medicine practice in Juneau since 2002 and maintains affiliated sleep clinics across the state.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of apnea, stems from a blockage of the upper airway while the patient sleeps. Depending on whether this blockage is complete or partial, the patient may have difficulty breathing or cease breathing altogether. Either of these manifestations causes the lower respiratory system to overcompensate and overwork to draw air into the lungs. When this happens, the patient often awakes abruptly with a loud gasp or snort as breathing resumes. The patient typically resumes sleeping almost immediately, but since the process tends to repeat itself, the patient tends to experience excessive daytime sleepiness or irritability.

A condition that affects more than 12 million people in the United States today, sleep apnea tends to occur more often in men than women and becomes more common as a patient ages. More than half of sleep apnea patients are overweight, though congenital issues, such as an excess of tissue at the back of the throat, may also serve as contributing factors. Patients with thicker necks or narrower airways are also more likely to develop the condition.

Dr. Krehlik works closely with all health providers across the entire state of Alaska to diagnose and treat snoring and apnea. A simple device makes it easy to be tested for sleep apnea in the comfort of your own home. Please visit for more information.