How Sleep Apnea Is Diagnosed And Treated

If you wake up with headaches or suffer from sleepiness during the day, you might have sleep apnea that's disrupting your sleep. Sleep apnea can have many other symptoms, so talk to your doctor about your condition to see if you should be tested. Here's some information about sleep apnea and how it's diagnosed and treated.

There Are Different Types Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea has different causes, and it's important to find out the cause of the condition so the proper treatment can be given. Obstructive apnea occurs when there is an obstruction in your throat that keeps you from moving air even though you are trying to breathe. The obstruction might be your tongue or an airway that collapses when you deeply relax in sleep.

Central apnea is different. With this condition, the problem is in your brain. Something interferes with your brain's ability to stimulate normal breathing, so you may have shallow respirations or stop breathing for short periods. You can even have both types of sleep apnea at once.

The Symptoms You Might Experience

When you stop breathing for short periods at night while you sleep, the drop in oxygen and disruption of sleep affects your health. You may have apnea episodes many times each night, and you might wake up several times and never get a good night's sleep. This can leave you tired and irritable during the day.

You might also snore loudly, have a dry mouth when you awake, or wake up feeling like you're choking. Symptoms could also include brain fog and insomnia. Apnea is also linked to blood pressure and heart problems, so if you think you have the condition, you should let your doctor know.

A Sleep Study Diagnoses Apnea

If your doctor thinks you might have apnea, they may send you to have a sleep study done. These studies are usually done overnight in a sleep study clinic while you are hooked up to a variety of monitoring machines. Your respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, breathing pattern, brain waves, and movement will be observed and recorded throughout the night.

The test creates graphs the doctor can examine to look for periods where you stopped breathing. The doctor can tell how many times you stopped breathing and for how long. The graphs also show how the periods of apnea affected your heart and oxygen saturation. With this information, the doctor knows if you have sleep apnea and how serious it is.

CPAP Is A Common Treatment

There are several treatments for apnea. Some are lifestyle related, such as losing weight, stopping smoking, or changing your sleeping position. Others are more involved and may include surgery. Your doctor may also want to treat other conditions that contribute to your apnea such as diabetes, heart disease, or a neurological condition.

Your doctor might send you to a dentist to have an oral appliance custom made that holds your tongue in the proper position for sleeping. However, a common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP. This treatment uses pressure to hold your airway open while you sleep by blowing air in a nose or face mask. It can be challenging to get used to wearing a CPAP device all night, but complying with your doctor's instructions for using it could mean an improvement in your health.

For more information, contact a company like Upstate Sleep Solutions.