When To See A Doctor For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a persons breathing is interrupted multiple during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea often stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping, sometimes hundreds of times each night. When this happens, the brain and the rest of the body may be deprived of adequate amounts of oxygen.
Doctors That Help Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA keeps you from getting good, quality sleep that is essential to your physical and mental health and wellness. With OSA, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, resulting in a decreased oxygen supply to vital organs.
This usually occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses or narrows and blocks the upper airway. Your brain, sensing an interruption in breathing, momentarily awakens you to reopen your airway and restart breathing.
Discussing symptoms with your doctor so you can be appropriately diagnosed and treated can improve your quality of life and may even save your life. OSA is tied to a host of chronic health conditions, including underlying coronary disease and cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure.
How To Get A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, the usual first step is to discuss your suspicions with your primary care physician. If you dont have a primary care physician, you can go directly to a clinician who is a sleep specialist. But check your health care insurance coverage first. Some policies require you to see a primary care physician first, and some policies limit the sleep centers and testing facilities whose services they will pay for. Unfortunately, you may discover that your policy offers limited or no coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, in which case you may wish to switch insurers if and when you can.
Whichever kind of physician you consult initially, it can be helpful for you to prepare in advance a detailed account of your medical history as it may be relevant to sleep apnea.
Sleep specialists come from a variety of medical backgrounds. They may be pulmonologists , otolaryngologists , neurologists , psychiatrists , or primary care physiciansinternists and family practitioners. Some dentists also have special training in the treatment of sleep disordered breathing, which includes sleep apnea. You can check the credentials of specialists at the websites of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine . You should feel free to ask any doctor you see about his or her credentials and the diagnostic procedures to be followed.
Recommended Reading: Iwatch Sleep Apnea
The Two Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are two kinds of sleep apnea and most patients fit into on of these two categories:
Obstructive sleep apnea: The more common of the two forms of apnea, this type of sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the patients airway. This type of sleep apnea usually happens when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central sleep apnea: During this type of sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked. However, the body fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to some sort of problem with the respiratory control center in the brain.
How Is Sleep Apnoea Diagnosed
If you think you or someone you know has the signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea, see a GP. If your GP suspects you may have sleep apnoea, you may be referred to a sleep specialist.
Depending on their examination and assessment, your GP or sleep physician may arrange for you to have a sleep study.
A sleep study is a medical test used to diagnose a range of sleep disorders including sleep apnoea. A sleep study looks at what you do when you go to sleep. Most sleep studies measure:
- brain signals
- oxygen levels in the blood
- sleep position and limb movements
- heart rate
- breathing and snoring.
You will be attached to a portable machine and monitoring leads will be placed on your body to track your sleep throughout the night.
Sleep studies can be done at home or by staying overnight in a special sleep clinic and are provided in public and private health services.
Read Also: Hypersomnia Va Rating
Getting Tested For Sleep Apnoea
If a GP thinks you might have sleep apnoea, they may refer you to a specialist sleep clinic for tests.
At the clinic, you may be given devices that check things like your breathing and heartbeat while you sleep.
You’ll be asked to wear these overnight so doctors can check for signs of sleep apnoea.
You can usually do this at home, but sometimes you may need to stay in the clinic overnight.
The test can show if you have sleep apnoea and how severe it is. This is based on how often your breathing stops while you sleep .
Your AHI score shows how severe your sleep apnoea is:
- AHI of 5 to 14 mild
- AHI of 15 to 30 moderate
- AHI over 30 severe
Sleep Apnoea Can Cause Other Problems
Without treatment, sleep apnoea can lead to:
- a higher chance of having a stroke
- depression or changes in your mood
- a higher chance of having a serious accident caused by tiredness, such as a car accident
- difficulty concentrating at work or school
Sleep apnoea can also be difficult for your partner and put a strain on your relationship with them.
Don’t Miss: Vivosmart 4 Sleep Tracking
What Happens If I Am Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is often considered a chronic condition which means it isnt necessarily curable, but this doesnt mean the symptoms cant be relieved. Its possible to relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea and even the condition itself. Losing weight may be a major part of your treatment plan.
Often CPAP therapy is offered by doctors for the treatment of sleep apnea, and while it works for many patients, it doesnt work for all, and often oral appliance therapy is preferred by patients. This kind of therapy is actually much simpler, easier, and more comfortable for patients to do, as it entails the use of a simple mouthpiece at night instead of a bulky CPAP machine.
Oral appliance therapy is approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and offered by our sleep apnea doctors here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Quite often, all a patient needs is oral appliance therapy for the treatment of their sleep apnea, and it may be the best treatment for you too!
What Are The Effects Of Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.
Its likely that sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.
This is because sleep apnea can cause:
- Repeated episodes of oxygen lowering .
- Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
- Direct effects on the heart due to pressure changes within the chest.
- Increased levels of markers of inflammation.
With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure , experts recommend that you dont delay in seeking the advice of your physician.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2020.
Also Check: How Does Garmin Measure Rem Sleep
Who Is A Sleep Doctor
A sleep doctor is a medical doctor who has additional special training in sleep medicine. Typically, the doctor is primarily trained in internal medicine, pulmonology or neurology and then completed additional training in sleep medicine. In order to be boarded in sleep medicine, the doctor must pass a rigorous exam .
Once a doctor is boarded in sleep medicine, he or she can interpret sleep studies and may build a sleep medicine practice. Usually this doctor will see patients with other medical conditions too such as pulmonary or neurological conditions .
Alternatively, a physician may not obtain the sleep medicine credential required to interpret sleep studies, but has a special interest and pursues additional training in sleep medicine. These physicians can be primary care or internal medicine physicians, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, ENTs or even dentists.
Positive Airway Pressure Therapy
Positive airway pressure therapy involves using a machine that blows pressurized air into a persons airways to stop them from collapsing. The device comes with a face mask, which the person wears at night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are several types of PAP therapy, including:
- Continuous positive airway pressure : CPAP devices blow air of the same pressure into a persons airways during inhalation and exhalation.
- Autotitrating positive airway pressure : APAP devices provide the same air pressure during inhalation and exhalation. However, the pressure can vary during episodes of sleep apnea or snoring.
- Bilevel positive airway pressure : BPAP devices blow higher pressure air into a persons airways when they breathe in, and lower pressure air when they breathe out.
Recommended Reading: How Do Beta Fish Sleep
What Are The Causes For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea afflicts men more than women and it usually occurs during middle age. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by blockage of airways because closure of soft tissue located in the rear of the throat. Central sleep apnea is caused by failure of the brain to signal muscles to continue breathing. Mixed sleep apnea takes place with a combination of the causes of first two types of sleep apnea.
How To Talk To Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea Concerns
Approximately one in three adults suffers from a sleep disorder and Sleep Apnea is one of the most prevalent sleep conditions afflicting todays public. With 80% of moderate to severe Sleep Apnea cases left undiagnosed, the health consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic. Its important to understand the condition and know how to talk to your doctor about Sleep Apnea. Lets look at how and when to bring up the topic, some basic talking points, and the options available to you if you are diagnosed with some form of sleep disorder.
Don’t Miss: Digestion And Sleep Problems
What Is A Sleep Study
Your doctor will probably also conduct a sleep study, a non-invasive painless test that can be performed at home. As you sleep, the machine will record information about your breathing, movements, the oxygen levels in your blood, and more about the changes that occur in your body during sleep. Youll return the machine to your doctor, who will analyze the results and confirm or rule out the presence of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
What Are The Treatments For Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is usually treated by doctors with a device called CPAP. It is a continuous positive airway pressure device that keeps on blowing air into airways so that it remains open during sleep in case of a victim of sleep apnea. Reducing weight, giving up on alcohol and smoking, breathing exercises in Yoga, and mediation have also helped in curing patients of sleep apnea.
How to manage sleep apnea
Managing sleep apnea can be difficult, especially when the patent snores loudly during his sleep. If you cannot tolerate a CPAP for curing your sleep apnea, you should make changes in your lifestyle such as reducing weight, giving alcohol and smoking, avoiding sleeping on your back, exercising, and Yoga. You should also use a nasal decongestant regularly to keep your nose clean. Deep breathing is a technique that can help in curing sleep apnea over a period of time.
Don’t Miss: How To Connect Sleep Apnea To Military Service
Whats The Next Step For Me
Get in touch with our clinic today to learn more about sleep apnea and our doctors and treatments. Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders has multiple locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, and you can find their addresses and contact information on our Locations page. Go ahead and contact us at one of our locations for more information or for a consultation, or call our head office at 977-0400. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
How To Find Doctors For Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
When it comes to sleep apnea, most people want to start CPAP therapy quickly so they can start feeling better fast. But where do you begin? What types of doctors diagnose sleep apnea? Whats a sleep apnea doctor called? There are a lot of different types of doctors who can diagnose sleep apnea and prescribe a treatment plan.
Most people start with their primary care physician and get referred to a specialist contingent on the information provided to your family doctor. For instance, if your partner is complaining about snoring, your family doctor may refer you to a pulmonologist for treatment. However, they may not be the only doctor able to help you diagnose and treat your sleep apnea. If you think its your teeth grinding thats causing you to sleep poorly, for instance, your PCP may refer you to your dentist instead.
No matter how you slice it, starting with your PCP is usually your best start since they know your history and can send you to the right specialist, so you can start sleeping better soon.
Don’t Miss: Serotonin And Sleep Deprivation
What A Sleep Study Is And What To Expect
If your doctor suspects that you have obstructive sleep apnea without other serious health conditions such as heart disease or lung problems, he or she may recommend that you use a portable sleep test device in your home, says Dr. Capasso.
If the test shows that you have sleep apnea, your doctor may be able to prescribe treatment without further testing. But if your test results are normal and indicate that you do not have sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a sleep test at a lab, because home monitoring devices are not able to detect all cases of sleep apnea. A doctor may order a sleep test thats supervised at a sleep clinic for complex sleep issues, Capasso says.
Removable sensors attached to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, and body movements before, during, and after sleep will be placed on your scalp, eyelids, face, chest, limbs, and a finger. The sensors record information such as:
- Oxygen levels in your blood
- How well air flows in and out of your lungs and through your nose and mouth as you breathe
- How much effort you use to breathe
- Heart rate
- Brain waves
- Muscle activity
- How often you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds or experience partly blocked breathing for at least 10 seconds
In most cases your doctors will schedule a follow-up appointment after the sleep study to discuss your results with you, whether or not you have sleep apnea, and if you do, your treatment options.
Why Visit A Sleep Apnea Dentist
Sleep apnea dentists, or sleep dentists, are experts who specialize in oral appliance therapy and techniques to improve the sleep quality of their patients. Their area of specialization helps them cater to patients who complain of disordered breathing and require oral appliance therapy.
If your quality of sleep is not up to par and has been a persistent problem for a very long time, its important to visit a sleep dentist, especially if you cant make sense of why the following occurs:
- Daytime sleepiness despite long sleep duration
- Jaw pain when you chew or for no explained reason
- Cracked/worn teeth due to grinding
- Disruptive snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
Don’t Miss: How To Fail Sleep Apnea Test Va
Check If You Have Sleep Apnoea
Symptoms of sleep apnoea mainly happen while you sleep.
- making gasping, snorting or choking noises
- waking up a lot
During the day, you may also:
- feel very tired
- find it hard to concentrate
- have mood swings
- have a headache when you wake up
It can be hard to tell if you have sleep apnoea. It may help to ask someone to stay with you while you sleep so they can check for the symptoms.
Can Sleep Apnea Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are things you can do to prevent sleep apnea. The following steps help many people:
- Stop all use of alcohol or sleep medicines. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, making it harder for you to breathe.
- If you smoke, quit smoking.
- If you are overweight, lose weight.
- Sleep on your side instead of on your back.
Also Check: Candida Die-off Insomnia
Contact Dr Bell For Your Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea may be causing you to lose valuable sleep and could also negatively impact your health. If you are having trouble with your sleep, dont wait to get treatment. If you still have questions about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for sleep apnea, please check out the rest of our specially created sleep apnea website or call our office for more information. Now is the time to treat your sleep apnea and get back to a healthy and happy lifestyle, so call Dr. Bell for a consultation now.
Health Consequences Of Sleep Apnea
The chronic sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can result in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and an increased risk of accidents and errors in your daily activities.
Sleep apnea also has a mental impact. It can trigger moodiness and irritability and cause anxiety and depression. It also increases your risk of other serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.
Affordable Online Therapy for Sleep Problems
Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.
Need urgent help? .
Also Check: Does Fitbit Versa Track Sleep