Are you often drowsy during your waking hours and have difficulty with concentration? Are you feeling restless and over-reliant on caffeine? If this sounds familiar, it’s very possible that you are suffering from sleep apnea. Large numbers of people receive a sleep apnea diagnosis every passing year, but so many more go about their lives still suffering without a diagnosis or any kind of treatment.

Because the day-to-day symptoms feel more like a nuisance than a giant red flag (headaches, daytime drowsiness, etc.) many people write off these symptoms as something less serious. However, this tendency to hide in plain sight with a variety of smaller symptoms in the short term is exactly what makes sleep apnea so dangerous.

 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is marked by a blockage in the airways that stops normal breathing while you sleep. This can happen hundreds of times every night, with the patient stopping their breathing up to 30 seconds each time, and sometimes even longer. When put in these terms, it’s easy to see that cutting off the oxygen supply to the body for so long every night can cause major issues.

There are three basic types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and complex.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is a blockage in the airway that slows or stops the flow of air. Central sleep apnea is neurological in nature, where the bran is not properly sending signals to control your unconscious breathing. And finally, complex sleep apnea is caused by a mixture of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. This is why it is important for patients to diagnose their sleep apnea, to not only find out that a problem exists but also to learn the nature of the problem and how best to treat it.

 

Sleep Apnea Testing

The only way to truly diagnose your sleep apnea is to take an in-lab sleep study (or “polysomnogram”) or a home sleep test (HST). These tests will also help your physician determine to what degree the sleep apnea is affecting your sleep and overall health. Both methods of testing are painless and simple to administer, usually within a single night. A physician analyzes these measurements to offer a diagnosis. Once you receive your diagnosis, our dentist, Dr. Merrily Sandford, and our team can help you determine the best treatment for your case.

If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea or want to be tested, Dr. Sandford, in conjunction with a qualified sleep physician, can bring you relief and answers with sleep apnea treatment in Austin, Texas. If you would like to get treated, call 512-263-8284 for more information.