If so, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Although thousands of people are diagnosed with the condition each year, many more thousands go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea occurs when a person is sleeping. However, the side effects of sleep apnea occur throughout the day. While patients may suffer from some of the common sleep apnea symptoms, such as headaches and daytime sleepiness, many do not think that these problems are serious. Because the symptoms are not overly alarming, it’s rare that a patient will go to his or her doctor or dentist to have the problems examined. This lack of recognition of the symptoms of sleep apnea is what truly makes sleep apnea that much more dangerous.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the patient to stop breathing at various times throughout the night. Studies show that such patients usually have pauses in normal breathing hundreds of times each night, each episode lasting up to 30 seconds, if not longer. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Each one is identified by abnormal periodic cessation of breathing, though the cause of the cessation is different for each apnea type.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage within the airway that impedes the natural flow of air. Central sleep apnea occurs because the brain does not send the proper signals to muscles that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of these two. This makes diagnosis even more vital as it is important to not only know if you have sleep apnea, but to further know what type you have in order to receive proper treatment.
Sleep Apnea Testing
An In Lab Sleep Study (also called a Polysomnogram) or HST (Home Sleep Test) is the only definitive way to tell whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, and how severe that apnea might be. Sleep studies can be conducted in a sleep laboratory or at home using an ambulatory sleep study device. These tests are painless, simple to administer and generally take one night. The results are analyzed by a physician who will then give a definitive diagnosis. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, Dr. Sandford can help you to find the treatment that is right for you.
Have Your Sleep Apnea Treated Today!
If you’re unsure whether you have sleep apnea and are interested in being tested, Dr. Sandford, along with the help of a sleep physician, will be able to provide you with the answers you need. We know the true danger that lies behind untreated or improperly treated sleep apnea, and we want to help! Call our office today.