Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Unless you have someone sleeping next to you to tell you that you’re snoring or that you’ve stopped breathing in your sleep, you likely won’t know. That probably sounds pretty obvious, since the two biggest tell-tale signs of sleep apnea are audible… things you won’t hear because you’re asleep!
And even if you do have someone who lets you know about all the odd sounds you make at night, they’re pretty easy to write off as “nothing to worry about.”
It shouldn’t have to take a serious illness, disease or a sleep divorce (this is when your spouse taps out and goes to sleep in another room) to get your attention. If you even question whether or not you have sleep apnea, chances are you have it and it’s time to get an official medical diagnosis.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is when you stop and start breathing repeatedly in your sleep, typically accompanied with loud snoring and choking sounds or gasps for air. This happens when your tongue and throat muscles relax and collapse into your airway while you're sleeping. Your body is quite literally suffocating itself! This puts added stress on your brain, lungs and other vital organs.
When not treated, sleep apnea can be very dangerous, causing long-term damage and illnesses...and sometimes even death.
Sleep Apnea Warning Signs
In addition to the loud snoring and episodes of no breathing, there are some additional warning signs to look out for — especially if you live or sleep alone.
How many of these issues do you deal with?
- Daytime drowsiness and fatigue
- Sleep deprivation, insomnia or unrestful sleep
- Brain fog and confusion
- Depression and anxiety
- Increasing heart rate and blood pressure
- Dry mouth and throat (especially in the morning)
- Frequent headaches
- Irritability and mood swings
Now, these may be things that are easy to chalk up to normal side effects to a busy life — one with kids and careers and responsibilities. But they are in fact very common side effects of sleep apnea.
These things can lead to long-term damage on your physical and mental health, and even ultimately death. These things can be directly correlated to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other life-threatening events.
Most Accurate Test to Diagnose Sleep Apnea
While it may seem simple enough to self-diagnose (keeping the neighborhood awake with my snoring — check, choking in my sleep — check, constantly being tired — check) it really is important to get it checked out by a professional.
In most cases if you see your regular doc or visit a sleep center, they'll either dismiss you or just strap a CPAP on your head, because this is their one-size-fits-all solution. Some sleep centers and big health systems make you do your sleep study — in a strange bed, in a hospital setting, hooked up to wires and hoses and buzzing machines — and then tell you how poorly you slept… gee, can’t imagine why that would be…
The best sleep you’re going to get is sleep that's in the comfort of your own bed. That’s why at ADVENT, our sleep studies are done at home. This small and effective test can be as easy as putting a bandaid on your fingertip. You can get results, like your oxygen levels and how many interrupted sleep events you experienced.
And when you meet with an ADVENT Sleep Specialist they'll examine the anatomy of your Breathing Triangle® — the three holes for breathing, your mouth and two nostrils — to see what is really going on and what is likely obstructing your airflow.
Sleep Apnea Solutions
Thankfully, sleep apnea is treatable and manageable. In fact, we offer some of the easiest treatments available to cure sleep apnea and relieve it’s symptoms.
CPAP It’s most common for people to treat sleep apnea with CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure therapy. This is a machine that sits on your bedside, with a hose connected to a mask worn over your mouth and nose. While the CPAP machine is widely used, and can be quite effective, it can only work so well… if your nose doesn’t work like it should, neither will the CPAP.
ORAL APPLIANCE Another option that is most prescribed by Sleep Dentists is an oral appliance. This device fits between your upper and lower teeth, much like a mouth guard. It’s designed to pull your jaw forward to prevent the muscles in your throat from collapsing in your airway.
SURGERY For more long-term solutions that actually treat the root causes, surgery may be the best option. There are simple procedures that have less downtime and more traditional surgeries, with longer recovery periods, that correct more significant issues with your nose (septum) and throat (uvula).
Treating Sleep Apnea With ADVENT
ADVENT offers several simple, in-office procedures that attack sleep apnea symptoms at their source. These available procedures are only about 20 minutes long, are followed by little or no downtime, and allow patients to experience higher quality sleep AND a higher quality of life!
We’ll get started by examining your anatomy to identify what’s really going on to cause these issues. Next, we’ll send you home with a small and simple sleep study that’s easy to use and delivers clear results. Then we will provide and execute on a treatment plan. One that is actually right for you — no one-size-fits-none solutions here.
From the moment you start your journey, to your final follow-up visit, you will experience the ease and comfort promised with ADVENT’s service. You’ll never second-guess your decision to correct your breathing issues… but you will be asking why you waited so long!
So, if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment. We will walk you through the entire process, deliver you a treatment plan that’s easy and effective, and get you back to living a life you love, with no more lingering questions about your sleep.
How To Beat Sleep Apnea
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