Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment Options
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million adults in the United States have sleep apnea. If you’re reading this, you probably suspect you may be one of them. Sleep problems are extremely difficult to self-diagnose because they occur while you’re sleeping (or attempting to sleep). That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with common sleep disorder symptoms that occur when you’re awake.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Apnea is a temporary cessation of breathing that can occur for various reasons. It can be divided into three main types:
During obstructive apnea, the muscles and tissues lining the upper airway relax and collapse into the airway. This obstructs the proper flow of air, frequently leads to snoring and prevents deep sleep.
Central apnea occurs when the body stops breathing as the result of signal interruptions between the brain and diaphragm. Central apnea can lead to lapses in breathing that last up to a minute.
Mixed apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central apnea. All three types of apnea can contribute to dangerously low oxygen levels in the body and should be treated right away.
What Are Common Symptoms?
Apnea has many warning signs, some of which occur during waking hours. Common symptoms of sleep disorders include:
- Dry mouth
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Dry throat
- Headaches (especially first thing in the morning)
- Weight gain
If you notice any of these symptoms, you may have a sleep disorder. In addition to monitoring symptoms yourself, you may also want to have your spouse or partner monitor you while you sleep to see if you frequently stop breathing, snore or gasp for air.
What Are My Treatment Options?
In many cases, simply changing your lifestyle can reduce or eliminate your apnea symptoms altogether. If you have obstructive apnea symptoms due to being overweight, your symptoms may subside as you adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose excess weight. Quitting smoking may also help you achieve a more restful sleep at night.
Continuous positive airway pressure (C-pap) machines are frequently recommended for people with sleep disorders. A C-pap machine uses a motorized fan to gently push pressurized air into the airways so they won’t collapse during sleep.
In complex cases, the experienced surgeons at Summit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery can perform oral surgery to reposition the bones in the lower and upper jaw. This is done to increase the airway size and facilitate the flow of air during sleep.
Call Us Today!
Whether it’s obstructive, central or mixed, sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that requires prompt treatment. To schedule your consultation, call our practice during business hours or fill out our online appointment request form.