What Are The Symptoms
The main symptoms of sleep apnea that you may notice are:
- Not feeling rested after a night’s sleep.
- Feeling sleepy during the day.
- Waking up with a headache.
Your bed partner may notice that while you sleep:
- You stop breathing.
If you have sleep apnea, you also may not be sleeping as well as you could. If you feel sleepy during the day and it gets in the way of the normal things you do , it’s important to talk to your doctor. Be safe. Do not drive while you are drowsy.
How Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated
When obstructive sleep apnea is mild, doctors might check a child’s sleep for a while to see if symptoms improve before deciding on treatment.
When big tonsils cause sleep apnea, doctors will refer families to an ear, nose, and throat doctor . The ENT might recommend:
- removing the tonsils
- removing large adenoids
These surgeries often are effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.
For other causes, a doctor may recommend continuous positive airway pressure therapy. In CPAP therapy, a person wears a mask during sleep. The mask may cover the nose only or the nose and mouth. It’s connected to a machine that pumps air to open the airways.
When excess weight causes obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to work with a doctor on diet changes, exercise, and other safe weight-loss methods.
Does Medicare And/or Insurance Cover Sleep Apnea Testing
Home sleep testing is often covered by most insurance companies if the patient exhibits likely symptoms for sleep apnea and qualifies for medical necessity.; Sleep apnea testing is covered by Medicare as well as insurance companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, and Cigna. Be sure to check with your insurance provider before ordering your sleep test.;
While insurance does typically cover testing and, occasionally, treatments, ApneaMed does not work with insurances directly. This is actually beneficial to the patient because it means you can receive your testing sooner and, oftentimes, for cheaper.;
Paying ApneaMed out-of-pocket does not mean your insurance wont reimburse you. However, you will have to do some research to see if your insurance has processes in place for out-of-pocket medical purchases. Check out our blog post for more information on billing your insurance directly.
Also Check: Can Kids Have Sleep Apnea
Symptoms Others May Notice Include:
- Episodes of not breathing , which may occur as few as 5 times an hour to 30 or more times an hour . How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
- Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore. But not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
- Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
- Nighttime choking or gasping spells.
Who Provides Treatment For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Care for people with sleep apnea is typically directed by a medical doctor, and their health care team may include a respiratory therapist, sleep technician, dentist, dietician, and/or physical therapist. Primary care physicians as well as gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, otolaryngologists , and surgeons may be involved in planning and monitoring a patients treatment plan.
- Was this article helpful?
Read Also: How Long Does Restless Leg Syndrome Last For
Types Of Sleep Apnea Tests
Essentially, a sleep apnea test is a study that measures your vitals during sleep. There are a few different ways to test for these vitals, so you and your doctor need to decide which of these options is best for your particular needs.;
There are two basic forms of sleep testing: at-home sleep tests or in-lab sleep studies. Both of these options will vary in scheduling, time commitment, cost, and severity of potential disorder.;
Home Sleep Apnea Tests
A home sleep test is an overnight unattended sleep study that is performed in the comfort of your own home, in your own bed. After receiving your Home Sleep Test device and activating the recording session, the device will monitor a series of biometric data while you sleepbreathing patterns, blood oxygen saturation, heart rhythms, respiratory effort, sleep positions, and more. After you mail the device back to your HST administrator, a board-certified sleep physician will interpret your results, giving you a diagnosis and, if necessary, a prescription for a treatment machine. Please note, that HSTs are only approved for adults 18 years and older and are frequently limited to only testing for Obstructive Sleep Apnea .;
Sleep Apnea Statistics By Age & Gender
There is really no way to identify who is or is not at risk for OSA based on age or gender. 26% of adults aged 30-70 years have obstructive sleep apnea . And this includes children, adults, the elderly, men, and women. About 20% of children snore, but 1-4% of children aged between 2-8 suffer from obstructive sleep apnea .;
While OSA impacts all genders equally, sleep-disordered breathing affect; 23.4% of women and 49.7% of men . Which is a male-to-female ratio of 2 to 3:1 .Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, but only by a small margin.;
How To Diagnose Sleep Apnea
One overnight test, which is called polysomnography, is what your doctor or physician will carry out to determine whether youve obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the recording of your breathing and sleeping using the in-laboratory measurement of eye movements, chin movements, respiratory effort, brain waves, and arousals, electrocardiographic tracings, airflow, body position, leg movements, and snoring.;
What Are Risk Factors For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The major risk factor for sleep apnea is excess body weight. You are much more likely to have sleep apnea if you are overweight or obese. However, sleep apnea can occur in slim people too. Common risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Excess weight: Your risk for sleep apnea is higher if you are overweight or obese .
- Large neck size: Your risk for sleep apnea is higher if you have a neck size of 17 inches or more for men, or 16 inches or more for women. A large neck has more soft tissue that can block your airway during sleep.
- Middle age: Sleep apnea can occur at any age. However, it is more common between young adulthood and middle age.
- Male gender: Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women. For women, the risk of sleep apnea increases with menopause.
- Hypertension: High blood pressure is common in people who have sleep apnea.
- Sedation: Medication or alcohol can interfere with the ability to awaken from sleep and can lengthen periods of apnea.
- Airway abnormalities: Examples are a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
- Family history: You have a higher risk of sleep apnea if a family member also has it. Inherited traits that increase the risk for sleep apnea include obesity and physical features such as a recessed jaw. Other common family factorssuch as physical activity and eating habitsmay play a role.
Don’t Miss: Is It Better To Sleep With Hair Up Or Down
Get Better Quality Sleep
Good sleeping habits and sleep patterns are important to feeling well and happy, and are a supplement to other sleep treatments.
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet and get seven to eight hours sleep a night.
If you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side instead to relieve your symptoms.
For a good nights sleep:;
- exercise every day – in the morning is best
- go outdoors during the day and into sunlight or bright light
- keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature for you
- use your bed for sleep and sex only
- do something to relax just before you go to bed, such as having a warm bath;
- if you find yourself always worrying at bedtime, try to find a time in the day to write down your worries and get them out of your system;
What to avoid:;
- exercise late in the day
- going to bed too hungry or too full
- eating heavy, spicy or sugary foods close to bedtime
- coffee or tea in the evening;
- drinking alcohol within four to six hours of your bedtime
- looking at a bright screen within 30 minutes of bedtime. Their light interferes with your bodys sleepiness cues;
- taking a nap during the day
Sleep Apnea Vs Snoring: How To Tell The Difference
Not everyone who has sleep apnea necessarily snores, but most people do. While snoring from time to time is pretty common for adults and not usually harmful, excessive and very loud snoring that interrupts normal sleep and your quality of life is a serious problem. How can you tell the difference between sleep apnea and simply normal snoring?
First and foremost, your spouse or partner might be able to help clue you in on your own sleeping habits. Do they notice you snoring loud enough that it wakes them up repeatedly and disturbs their sleep quality too? Do they report that youre stopping and starting breathing, waking up startled or;gasping for air? If youre struggling with sleep apnea, your snoring might take on other forms that arent normal, including strong gasping, shaking and choking sounds that wake you up suddenly. If no one sleeps close enough to you to report symptoms, try using a tape recorder to track your own breathing sounds while youre sleeping.
Normal snoring also doesnt tend to make people tired, distracted and irritable during the day because it doesnt usually impair sleep quality. Chronic fatigue;is one of the biggest signs of poor sleep quality due to sleep disturbances like sleep apnea. If you notice changes in your concentration, mood, memory, weight, appetite and personality;, then you might have sleep apnea.
Final Thoughts on Sleep Apnea
Read Next:;How to Stop Snoring 11 Remedies that Work!
Anesthesia And Pain Medicine
The presence of sleep apnea presents special challenges to the administration of anesthesia and pain medications that may affect respiration or relax muscles. Since most people who have sleep apnea dont know it, the anesthesiologist or pain clinician is well advised to screen the patient for OSA before proceeding. Should it be determined there is a likelihood that OSA is present, the next move is to order a sleep study to make sure or, at a minimum, to take the precautionary steps that should be taken with a patient whose sleep apnea has been diagnosed. These procedures are laid out in greater detail here.; See also this article;from two Mayo Clinic physicians
This summary of obstructivesleep apnea treatments is adapted from an article written by John Sotos, M.D., a member of the American Sleep Apnea Associations board of directors, and appears here by permission. The original may be viewed at . Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring respond to several types of treatment.
What Are Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring is likely to be a sign of sleep apnea when it is followed by silent breathing pauses and choking or gasping sounds. People with sleep apnea often have daytime sleepiness or fatigue.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud or frequent snoring
Also Check: Does Lack Of Sleep Cause Digestive Problems
Limiting Alcohol And Sedatives
Alcohol and sedative medications cause slackening of the tissues near the airway, contributing to a heightened risk of airway collapse and OSA. Alcohol can cause fragmented and lower-quality sleep because of its effects on sleep cycles. For these reasons, reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and sedatives, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, is frequently advised for patients with OSA.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Family members or bed partners often pick up on the signs of sleep apnea first. Many people with sleep apnea don’t know they’re snoring and gasping for breath at night. If you have any of the following signs, see your doctor:
- daytime sleepiness
- loud snoring followed by silent pauses
- gasping or choking during sleep
- morning headache
- poor concentration or memory loss
- lowered sex drive
Snoring by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. It is true that loud snoring is common in people with this disorder, but there’s a big difference between simple snoring and sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health problems. If it’s not treated, sleep apnea can lead to:
- high blood pressure
- work-related injuries
Also Check: Does Depression Make You Sleep More
Sleep Apnea Test Faqs
Is a Home Sleep Test Uncomfortable or Painful?
While all sleep studies can come with some level of discomfort, home sleep tests are far more comfortable and convenient than in-lab sleep studiesnot to mention far cheaper in most cases, even with insurance. Rather than going to a sleep lab or hospital and trying to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, HSTs allow you to sleep in your bed, at home, while still having your biometric data monitored. The device is small and relatively uncomplicated and you should be able to sleep normally while wearing it.;
How Long Do I Have to Be Asleep?
We advise that, when undergoing your HST, you stick to your normal bedtime routine. You shouldnt behave any differently during your pre-bedtime routine than you would on any other night and try to get to bed and wake up around your usual timeswhich should constitute a full nights sleep. Once you are wearing the device properly, turn it on when you get into bed even if you dont fall asleep right away. The best rule is to try to get at least 3 straight hours of uninterrupted sleep for more accurate results.;
What If I Wake Up During the Night?
What Causes Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is usually observed in patients with central nervous system dysfunction, such as following a stroke or in patients with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . It is also common in patients with heart failure and other forms of heart, kidney or lung disease.
Don’t Miss: Can Quinine Help Restless Leg Syndrome
What Is Mild Sleep Apnea
How do you even determine if you have mild sleep apnea? There are three different types of sleep apnea as determined by the Apnea-Hypopnea Index , which measures how many apneas or hypopneas you experience each hour during a sleep study.
But, what exactly does that mean and what is considered mild sleep apnea? Apneas and hypopneas are events that occur in your sleep when you have sleep apnea. An apnea is a total absence of airflow through your mouth and nose even when theres an effort to breathe as measured at the abdomen and chest. A hypopnea, on the other end, is a partial collapse of your airway.
When you do a sleep studyat home or in a labyour OSA diagnosis and its severity is given based on the average number of apneas and hypopneas you have per hour. If you experience fewer than five such events, youd be diagnosed either with no sleep apnea or minimal.
A mild sleep apnea diagnosis means you experienced more than five but fewer than 15 events an hour. Moderate OSA is identified by more than 15 but fewer than 30, and severe is more than 30.
Oxygen desaturation, which is a decrease in your blood oxygen levels is also considered when making a diagnosis. The normal level should be around 96 to 97 percent. When the level goes below the normal range down to 90 percent, its generally considered part of a mild OSA diagnosis. Moderate means your levels dropped to between 80 to 89 percent, and the severe level dips to under 80 percent.
Continued Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Sometimes individuals with treated sleep apnea still experience excessive daytime sleepiness , a chronic condition, and need help with improving wakefulness. We know this sleep deficit is contributing to worsening co-existing medical conditions and impacts human performance as well as cognitive abilities.
For this reason, physicians may prescribe medications, after diagnosing EDS, to improve daytime functioning for those who suffer from this chronic condition.
Treatment of EDS relies on identifying and treating the underlying disorder which may alleviate the symptoms from EDS. The medications used to treat EDS work in the brain to help keep an individual alert and awake during the day. There is declining usage of older, previously prescribed medications to treat EDS due to several adverse effects risk of dependency, especially when illicitly misused. A new generation of medications, more specifically targeted to treat EDS cases is becoming the standard of care.
Read Also: How To Deal With Sleep Anxiety
How Sleep Apnea And Sleep Deprivation Are Linked
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing intermittently while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea , the most common form of the disorder, causes the throat muscles collapse during sleep and obstruct the airway. The body then rouses, often with a gasp or choke, to restore oxygen flow.Â;Â;
These sleep disturbances can prevent you from getting a full night of rest, and therefore leave you sleep-deprived. Both sleep apnea and sleep deprivation can have varied and serious consequences, as your ability to function and feel good throughout the day depends on the amount and quality of sleep you get each night.
âFragmented sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness,â Kent Smith, DDS, D-ABDSMÂ;and President of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Surgery For Sleep Apnea
There is still some skepticism surrounding the effectiveness of surgery to alleviate sleep apnea, but there have been some promising studies in recent years. Currently, the most common procedure to treat sleep apnea is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, which surgically removes throat tissues that can obstruct the airways in deep sleep. But statistics show that this procedure only helps patients roughly 60% of the time.;
Though less invasive than uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, upper airway stimulation therapy is a newer treatment that implants a series of sensors beneath the skin of the throat and chest areas. During sleep, should the sensors detect obstructions, the implants send some mild stimulation to help clear the obstruction and reinstate normal breathing.;
Recommended Reading: Is It Better To Sleep In Cold Or Warm