I think I may have sleep apnea: What steps should I take?

I think I may have sleep apnea: What steps should I take?

sleep apnea HenricoMore than likely you have probably heard about sleep apnea and its symptoms from the news, a family member, or friend. Perhaps you are wondering if you might have sleep apnea based on symptoms such as persistent fatigue and frequent headaches. If you believe you might have sleep apnea, there are a few steps you can take to receive an accurate diagnosis. You should speak with your physician or oral surgeon about scheduling a sleep study. A sleep study will determine if you have periods of apnea during sleep.

What is sleep apnea, exactly?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where excessive or deformed tissue in the throat obstructs airways during sleep. When airways are obstructed, a person is unable to breathe. Since this occurs during sleep, breathing cessation can last for up to sixty seconds until the brain sends waking signals to rouse the person sleeping. The cycle of apnea followed by slight wakefulness can occur dozens of times throughout the night.

What are the most common symptoms of OSA?

Most people with OSA feel chronically tired even after what feels like a full night’s sleep. Untreated OSA causes sleep deprivation, which in turn, leads to a host of health problems and mood disturbances. Sleep deprivation will cause memory loss, depression, and the body’s ability to process and eliminate waste and toxins.

Research has connected sleep apnea to other health issues as well. Studies suggest that an inconsistent heart and respiratory rate caused by untreated sleep apnea can weaken the cardiovascular system and affect oxygen saturation in the blood. Based on the wealth of research’s findings, it seems that OSA is more than just a threat to quality of life.

What are treatment options for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea symptoms can sometimes be improved with lifestyle changes. For instance, those who smoke or those who need to lose weight may see a reduction in their symptoms. Other folks may benefit from CPAP therapy or the use of oral appliances that reposition the lower mandible during sleep.

When these options fall short, oral surgery may be needed to remove excessive soft tissue in the oral cavity.

Call our practice today to reserve a consultation with our experienced team at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery.