Patients are often aware that they show signs of sleep apnea even before they are officially diagnosed with the condition. Symptoms like frequent morning headaches, fatigue even after a full night’s sleep and daytime drowsiness all may indicate that a patient has sleep apnea. Sleeping partners may also alert the patient to loud snoring and noticeable pauses in breathing throughout sleep.
If you are suffering from these symptoms, the first thing to do is to schedule a sleep study overseen by an apnea clinic or some other center that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
During the sleep study, the patient wears a number of sensors designed to pick up on various signals from the body, such as heartbeat and brain waves. Typically the patient can choose whether to complete the sleep study in the comfort of their own homes or at the apnea clinic, whichever setting they prefer.
The sleep study will provide data to support a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, and that diagnosis is essential to getting effective treatment.
After you get a definitive sleep apnea diagnosis, the next step is to schedule a consultation with a specialist who treats this condition, such as an oral surgeon.
Patients with sleep apnea have a number of treatment options. The most well-known is probably the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, although many patients complain that it is difficult to tolerate the mask.
Many patients find that they get relief from their apnea symptoms by wearing a simple mouthguard that holds the jaw or the tongue in a position that keeps the airway opening clear during sleep. An oral surgeon can custom-design such a device to improve the patient’s chances of positive treatment outcomes.
If you have signs of sleep apnea, see a specialist for a diagnosis and to explore your treatment options. Sleep apnea can have serious consequences for your health and affect your quality of life, so it’s important to get effective treatment for this condition.