Sleep apnea is much more than someone who snores loudly at night and keeps loved ones awake. In fact, sleep apnea can become lethal to one’s health and the overall state of being. People with sleep apnea may not realize that they are missing out on a better quality of life. Among other sleep disorders, sleep apnea is a common problem that puts many people at risk of breathing issues and intense fatigue.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Fortunately, we can provide treatment for sleep apnea and help patients receive the sleep that they need. The first step for any patient is to identify the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, which include:
- Loud snoring
- Breathing cessation of breathing during sleep
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Feeling excessively sleepy during the day
- Morning headaches
- Feeling irritable and having difficulty paying attention
- Waking up abruptly due to shortness of breath
A patient may experience some or all of these symptoms, depending on the type of sleep apnea he or she has. The main types of sleep apnea are obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea or Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome. The reason some people experience sleep apnea more prominently than others is due to the tongue falls backward and makes it much more difficult to breathe.
The cessation of breathing can last for a few seconds or even minutes, increasing the risk of injury or even death. Therefore, treating sleep apnea as soon as possible is crucial to one’s health. There are other possible causes for various forms of sleep apnea that we can go over during a consultation. In order to determine if a patient has sleep apnea, there are a few different tests that we will recommend.
To diagnose a specific sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, we will need to run what is known as a sleep diagnostic in an office or at the patient’s home. We can provide patients with a simplified version of the test that loved ones help the patient run at home. If they choose to go through the test in the office, we will hook them up to equipment that measures their heart beat, lung activity, breathing patterns, brain activity, arm/leg movements and blood/oxygen levels during sleep.
With these results, we will develop a treatment plan. With several different types of sleep apnea and multiple forms of treatment, we will recommend the best form of treatment for the patient’s condition.
The level of treatment will depend on the severity of the sleep apnea. For mild conditions of sleep apnea, a lifestyle change may be the only necessary treatment. These lifestyle changes can include losing weight, quitting smoking or treating any nasal allergies. If these changes are ineffective in treating the sleep apnea, then we may recommend a more advanced option.
One option is to use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP, machine to help open the airway passages to prevent sleep apnea. Many people use this treatment in the form of a mask that goes over the face during sleep. While the CPAP machine is usually effective and a common treatment for sleep apnea, some patients may prefer other methods. The CPAP machine can be loud, cumbersome and difficult to travel with.
Another option is to invest in a customizable oral appliance. The oral appliance will fit the patient’s teeth like most retainers, helping to bring the jaw forward during sleep. This can help to relieve snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. An oral appliance is easier to use each night and does not create noise. Patients can also easily travel with the appliance in a small case.
Schedule an appointment today!
We can determine the best form of treatment at a consultation and after determining the type of sleep apnea. While surgery is a possible treatment option, we recommend that patients try less extensive treatment options first. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our clinic today at (706) 608-4072.