Many symptoms may lead patients to suspect that they have sleep apnea. A partner may alert you to excessive snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep. You may experience daytime drowsiness or morning headaches. Nonetheless, the condition cannot be diagnosed conclusively without a sleep study.
Not only do sleep studies confirm that a patient has sleep apnea, these studies can also inform treatment. The study can determine whether your sleep apnea is obstructive (caused when tissues at the back of the mouth block the airway entrance) or central (caused by a problem in the nervous system).
A sleep study measures certain biological signals, such as eye movements, heart rate, and brain waves, to identify any disruptions in breathing during sleep. The test will also calculate how many breathing pauses a patient experiences. Patients can complete such a study at a Chicago sleep center or in the comfort of their own home, and these studies must be supervised by a sleep medicine physician.
If the sleep study shows that you do indeed have apnea, your oral surgeon will review the results and decide what course of treatment to pursue.
Often, the patient’s apnea will respond to a custom-made oral appliance. In these cases, the appliance repositions the jaw to prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from sliding back and obstructing the airway.
When patients do not get relief from an oral appliance, they will need to turn to other interventions, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. In rare cases, patients may need to have surgery to correct a structural anomaly that is contributing to the apnea.
Sleep apnea can have serious consequences, as people with the condition face a higher risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Effective treatments are available, though, and the sooner you undergo a sleep study, the sooner you can get back to good health. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more about this evaluation.