Diagnosing & Treating Sleep Apnea

shutterstock_315886505Sleep apnea can affect you regardless of your weight, age, or gender – although the risk does become drastically higher if you’re overweight, male, and older than 40. Even though you don’t consciously experience the symptoms associated with sleep disorders, both forms of sleep apnea (obstructive and central) can lead to other dangerous health complications if left untreated. However, many of those who suffer from sleep apnea are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because the symptoms they know of can indicate other medical conditions. But, reaching a diagnosis is the first step to finding the right treatment for you.

The Sleep Study

If you notice that you continue to feel fatigued, wake with headaches, and have trouble focusing – it could be the amount of sleep you’re getting at night, or lack thereof. Even if you’re unaware of the breathing cessations that are causing you to wake, gasping for air, in the middle of the night – your partner may not be. It helps if you sleep next to someone as they’re able to witness many of the symptoms that sufferers tend to be unaware of. Knowing these symptoms can help your doctor to decide whether you need a sleep study or not.

The sleep study is typically performed in a lab-setting (that closely resembles a comfortable hotel room) overnight. While you sleep, medical machines will monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels in your blood, blood pressure, and other vitals that will help to determine whether you’re suffering from sleep apnea or a different medical condition.

Treating Sleep Apnea

The most commonly used treatment is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. There’s no doubt that they’re successful in maintaining your oxygen level throughout your sleep cycle, but people often complain about their comfort level.

In the recent past, oral appliances have become increasingly popular as they’re continually proving to be successful for treating sleep apnea. Comfort is a minimal concern as each appliance is custom made, making for an easier adjustment too!

If you can’t seem to ever get a good night’s rest, you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Don’t wait to seek treatment, if it is – you could be putting your overall health at risk the longer you wait.