What to ask about Sleep Apnea
If your doctor has suggested you may have sleep apnea, you probably have many questions about it. From how your diagnosis can be confirmed or ruled out to how sleep apnea can be treated, making a list of questions can help you make sure you ask everything you’re wondering about.
In this blog, the sleep specialists at eos sleep diagnostics suggest questions you may want to ask about sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
This sleep disorder is characterized by repeated pauses during sleep, which deprives your body of the deep, restorative rest it needs to function well. It also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, which can negatively impact your health.
How is it diagnosed?
A sleep study (also called a polysomnogram) is the only way to definitively diagnose this condition. This noninvasive test measures what happens to your body during sleep, including your brain activity, breathing, heart rate, movements, and oxygen levels. Depending on the results of this test, your doctor can either confirm or rule out a diagnosis of sleep apnea.
What are its long-term consequences?
This sleep disorder can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and morning headaches.
It can also have very serious effects on your long-term health, including increasing your risk of developing a stroke, heart attack, or type 2 diabetes.
Can I make any lifestyle changes to help my condition?
The effectiveness of lifestyle changes can depend on your individual circumstances as well as the severity of your apnea. It certainly can’t hurt to try any of the following along with treatment recommended by your doctor:
- Lose weight if you need to
- Sleep on your side instead of on your back
- Avoid using alcohol or sedatives, particularly close to bedtime
How will I be treated for sleep apnea?
Your treatment plan will be determined by the type and severity of your condition.
The following are common types of treatment:
- CPAP – Probably the most common type of treatment used, this machine delivers a low flow of air through a mask that you’ll wear over your nose and/or mouth. It helps keep your airway open as you sleep.
- Oral therapy – This treatment is often helpful for patients who find a CPAP machine too uncomfortable to use. A unique mouthpiece is made for you to wear at night, and by gently coaxing your tongue and/or jaw forward, it helps keep your airway open.
- Surgery – In some cases, your airway may be blocked due to a structural issue like nasal polyps (growths inside the lining or your nose or sinuses) or a deviated septum (a severely crooked or off-center wall of cartilage and bone between your nostrils).
If you’re experiencing daytime sleepiness or other symptoms of sleep apnea, make an appointment today with eos sleep diagnostics on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We specialize in evaluating and treating sleep disorders, and our top sleep medicine physicians are happy to answer any questions you may have. Our doctors and technicians will partner with you to help you sleep better and improve your overall health.