Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea? How to Get Diagnosed

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Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea? How to Get Diagnosed

Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea? How to Get Diagnosed

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 at 3:56 pm    

They say that the first step to solving any problem is to admit that you have a problem. Maybe you are always tired, feeling run-down, and are becoming more and more cranky. Sometimes one cup of coffee in the morning just doesn’t seem like enough. In the back of your brain, you may already have an inkling that something just isn’t right, but what? It may be time to take a step back and examine how you sleep.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Studies report that as many as 18 million people may suffer from a sleep condition known as sleep apnea. However, about 80 percent of those people are undiagnosed. That means you may be living with a serious sleep condition and not even know it.

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to breathe abnormally while they sleep. Although there are several different types of sleep apnea, in general, sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing temporarily. When the person stops breathing, they wake up suddenly because their body detects a diminished oxygen supply. Sleep apnea needs to be taken seriously because, in addition to preventing a restful night’s sleep, it can also result in other significant health complications.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Step one on your way to a diagnosis is to recognize that you have a problem. If you think your current issues may be sleep-related, see if you have any of these classic sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty thinking or focusing
  • Sore throat first thing in the morning
  • Snoring or your partner complains that you are snoring

The Diagnosis

You’ve discovered that you have symptoms that align with sleep apnea, so what’s next? It is time to talk to a sleep expert. Document your symptoms, prepare a list of questions, and schedule an appointment with a physician that specializes in sleep. A physician can listen to your concerns, rule out other possibilities, and may wish to schedule you for a sleep study.

Some cases of sleep apnea can be diagnosed with an at-home sleep test. An at-home sleep test involves being prescribed a special device that you take home with you. It measures your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and body movements while you sleep. The doctor can then review the information from the machine to determine if sleep apnea is the appropriate diagnosis.

In some cases, a doctor may wish to conduct a sleep study, or nocturnal polysomnography, in the office. A nocturnal polysomnography study will measure many of the same elements, but it will be administered in a comfortable sleep-office setting where practitioners can examine your symptoms in real-time while you sleep. In either case, the data that is gathered can be crucial to diagnosing a patient correctly, especially because there are different types of sleep apnea that an individual may have.

If you are having problems with the quality of your sleep or suspect that you may have sleep apnea, contact Silent Night Therapy for help. Don’t rely on a self-diagnosis. Talk to a sleep professional who can use technology and the latest medical advances to help you reach an accurate diagnosis. Start your journey to better sleep today by calling 631-983-2463 or scheduling a complimentary sleep consultation.


How a Home Sleep Study Works 

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 at 8:03 pm    

The American Sleep Association estimates that between 50 and 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. That’s a lot of Americans with problems getting rest. Other medical studies suggest that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea while impacting 20 percent of U.S. adults, go undiagnosed in almost 90 percent of patients.

Unfortunately for many adults, problems getting a quality night’s sleep are often chalked up to stress and anxiety. Feeling tired throughout the day or not waking up refreshed after a night’s sleep are solved by chugging another cup of coffee in the morning or downing an energy drink mid-day. People may not realize that a sleep disorder could be impacting the quality of their sleep and their overall health. However, there is a way to help determine if an undiagnosed sleep disorder is to blame, and it starts with an at-home sleep study.

What Is an At-Home Sleep Study?

An at-home sleep study or an at-home sleep test is a diagnostic tool that a physician may employ to help diagnose sleep disorders or disturbances. In many cases, an at-home sleep study is used to determine if an individual is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Sleep apnea is a term used to describe several conditions that result when a person stops breathing during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s airway becomes blocked, or obstructed, stopping the flow of air. OSA can cause a person to move out of the deep sleep phase or wake them up entirely.

An at-home sleep test requires a portable device that should be approved by your physician. There is no need for an overnight visit to a sleep clinic. The test can be taken in the comfort of a person’s own home. While there are different models and types of equipment, basically, a portable sleep test device is a compact breathing monitor that will measure an individual’s breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while they sleep. The machine gathers the information, and then a physician will examine the data and use it to make a diagnosis or decide to conduct a more in-depth study.

How to Prepare for an At-Home Sleep Study

First and foremost, follow all your physicians’ instructions carefully. If you are already feeling tired and need an afternoon pick-me-up, avoid caffeine. Do not have a drink with dinner and avoid the temptation to take a little afternoon catnap. All these things can interfere with your sleep and impact the quality of your at-home sleep test.

Depending on your doctor’s instructions, you may need to conduct the test for as many as three consecutive nights. Make sure that you go to bed at your usual time and don’t make any sudden or drastic changes to your bedtime routine. Apply the equipment as directed. If something happens that wakes you up, such as a sick child coming into your bedroom or a fire alarm going off, make a note of it and share the information with your doctor.

An at-home sleep test is a convenient and often less stressful way to help your doctor get to the bottom of your sleep issues. At Silent Night Therapy, we are deeply committed to helping patients explore their problems and find ways to get the rest they deserve.

Tired, cranky, or feeling sleep-deprived? Silent Night Therapy offers at-home sleep tests, so if you feel that you might have sleep apnea, call us and set up an appointment today!

 


Patients With Generalized Epilepsy May Be at Higher Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 12:53 am    

Researchers have discovered a connection between epilepsy and obstructive sleep apnea, also referred to as OSA. A 2018 article from Practical Neurology explains this connection. The authors of the article, Michelle L. Dougherty, MD and Karin G. Johnson, MD, argue that epilepsy can affect sleep apnea and that the converse is true as well.

Dougherty and Johnson wrote in the article that epileptic seizures can disrupt a person’s sleep habits. Additionally, anti-seizure medications may also diminish the possibility of healthy sleep. This is because some of these medications are muscle relaxants, which can impact the upper airway. And other medicines cause weight gain; obesity is a contributing factor to OSA.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your upper respiratory structure repeatedly collapses during sleep. This causes repetitive disrupted sleep, snoring, trouble breathing, and the inability to deliver oxygen to the brain. Sleep apnea often leaves the patient feeling groggy the next morning and foggy throughout the day.

An article from Neurology Today argues that people with generalized epilepsy are often at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea than people with focal epilepsy, which is characterized by seizures that affect one part of the brain. The article also states that people with epilepsy and undiagnosed sleep apnea are at a higher risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Matthew T. Scharf, MD, Ph.D., one of the doctors who authored the study, said epilepsy patients should always be screened for sleep disorders.

Despite the studies, doctors are still not sure how exactly epilepsy affects sleep apnea and, conversely, how sleep apnea affects epilepsy. However, they have uncovered sufficient evidence to connect the two, and now many doctors advocate for more sleep disorder screenings in people with epilepsy.

Make an Appointment With Silent Night Therapy

If you have epilepsy and believe you should be screened for a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, please do not hesitate to reach out to Silent Night Therapy. Our sleep specialists have the tools and expertise to diagnose your sleep problems and help find practical solutions that fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do an at-home sleep study, we can provide you with a kit mailed straight to your door. Please give us a call at (631) 983-2463 or contact us online.


Silent Night Therapy Available Through SNAP Diagnostics Dropship

Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 at 6:10 pm    

The team at Silent Night Therapy understands the safety concerns that our patients and prospective patients have regarding the spread of COVID-19, and in response, we are pleased to offer virtual sleep consultations and remote sleep testing through SNAP Diagnostics Dropship.

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First, you will need to call us to set up a virtual consultation. Since it is not in the best interest of our community’s safety to meet in person, we will now be conducting sleep consultations through Facebook, Google Duo, and FaceTime. During your virtual appointment, your sleep specialist will explain how the in-home sleep study through Dropship will work. They will also discuss the symptoms of sleep apnea and ask what symptoms you are experiencing, then discuss goals and a potential treatment plan.

SNAP Diagnostics’ home delivery service, called Dropship, will deliver a sanitized testing kit to your home so you can conduct an in-home sleep study without needing to come into our lab. Simply follow the instructions and return your testing kit to SNAP Diagnostics, who will review your test and send us the results.

How Your In-Home Sleep Study Will Work

You will receive your in-home sleep study testing kit via delivery by SNAP Diagnostics’ delivery service, Dropship. An in-home study will use a belt, an oximeter probe, and an oral-nasal cannula, as opposed to a greater number of measuring tools used in a lab study. You simply go through your normal nightly routine and attach the equipment to yourself right before you go to sleep.

Because you are doing the study in the comfort of your own home, it will be easier to fall asleep and might yield more accurate results, since your sleep is more disrupted in a lab. Home studies are typically just as accurate as lab studies but are much more convenient and comfortable for the person being tested.

Contact the Team at Silent Night Therapy

We are committed to providing you the same level of service that you have always expected and are proud to offer our help through web consultations. If you have questions about sleep studies or suspect you might have sleep apnea, contact the team at Silent Night Therapy. You deserve a good night’s sleep, and we’ll be here to find the solution that will help you get it. Schedule your virtual consultation with us by calling (631) 983-2463 or by filling out a contact form today.


Why an at-home sleep study is often better than in a lab

Posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at 8:10 pm    

If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, you may be considering participating in a sleep study to determine what your next treatment steps should be. The thought of sleeping in a lab is unsettling for many people, so they opt to never even do a sleep study. But recently, at-home sleep studies have become more common, making it easier for people to determine whether they have sleep apnea. 

What happens during an in-lab sleep study?

If you choose to go to a sleep center to conduct your sleep test, technicians will attach a number of tools to your body to measure different aspects of your sleep. Technicians will attach: 

  • Electrodes to your face and scalp to send electric messages to the measuring equipment
  • A belt around your chest to measure breathing
  • A sound probe to detect snoring
  • Pressure transducers on your nasal region to measure airflow
  • An oximeter probe on your finger to measure blood flow

Wearing this much technology can make it difficult to fall asleep when it is already uncomfortable to be doing your nightly routine in an unfamiliar environment. 

What happens during an in-home sleep study?

If you choose to do your sleep test at home, you can simply pick up your test at the office and return it when the test is over. Instead of the five measuring tools used in the lab, an in-home study will only use a belt, an oximeter probe, and an oral-nasal cannula. You simply do your normal nightly routine and attach all the equipment right before you go to bed. Doing it in the comfort of your own bed will make it easier for you to fall asleep, and might yield more accurate results because your sleep is more disrupted in a lab. Home studies are typically just as accurate as lab studies but are much more convenient and comfortable for the person being tested. 

Contact the OSA Team at Silent Night Therapy

If you have questions about sleep studies or suspect you might have sleep apnea, contact the team at Silent Night Therapy. You deserve a good night’s sleep, and we’ll be here to find the solution that will help you get it. Schedule your consultation with us by calling (631) 983-2463 or by filling out a contact form today.

 


Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at 7:11 pm    

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease and depression. The disorder can also leave you feeling drowsy, increasing your risk of accidents while working or driving.

The three primary types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea The most common form of apnea where the muscles in the back of the throat relax, failing to keep the airway open. It can cause you to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time many times throughout the night.
  • Central sleep apnea – The brain does not control breathing during sleep. Central sleep apnea may happen as a result of other health conditions, including stroke and heart failure. Sleeping at a high altitude can also contribute to central sleep apnea. Treatments involve treating existing conditions, using a device to assist breathing, or using supplemental oxygen.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome – Occurs when you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. However, not all snorers have sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, the snoring is likely to be followed by silent breathing pauses and choking or gasping sounds.

Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, although some of the symptoms are different depending on your age.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent, loud snoring
  • Silent pauses in breathing
  • Gasping or choking sounds
  • Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
  • Unsatisfying sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain at night
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Irritability
  • Waking up to go to the bathroom
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Decreased sexual desire

Untreated sleep apnea is associated with health risks, so it is critical you consult a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Some people are at a greater risk of sleep apnea. Men are more likely to have it than women. However, the risk for women increases after menopause. Being overweight or obese greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea.

Hypertension is often linked to sleep apnea. High blood pressure can cause sleep apnea or worsen breathing in patients already affected by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea and high blood pressure are both associated with a greater risk for serious complications like heart attack and stroke.

Treatment

For milder cases of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight. If you have allergies, your doctor will probably recommend medication or a nasal spray. If these measures don’t improve your apnea symptoms, a number of other treatments are available for moderate to severe apnea. The most common treatment is the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves a machine delivering air pressure through a mask while you sleep.

Sleep Apnea In Children

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 10%-20% of children who snore may have sleep apnea. Overall, an estimated 3% of children have sleep apnea. Warning signs of sleep apnea to look for in your child include snoring, breathing pauses during sleep, bedwetting, daytime fatigue, and mouth breathing while they’re asleep and awake.

See a Doctor

If you recognize any of the symptoms and warning signs mentioned in this article, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will probably recommend a sleep study (which can be done from the comfort of your own home) that examines your breathing patterns while you’re asleep. The sooner you identify and begin treating sleep apnea the better. At Silent Night Therapy, we are passionate about helping our neighbors in New York get better sleep. Contact us today at (631) 983-2463 to learn more.


What are the Different Types of Sleep Apnea?

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 2:13 pm    

Sleep apnea affects more than 18 million people in the United States and is defined as abnormal breathing that happens while an individual is asleep. Sleep apnea is more common with men than women, particularly in Hispanic and African American populations. Other risk factors include being obese and over the age of 40, although sleep apnea can occur in individuals of any age, including children.

Despite widespread awareness of this disease, there are people who still remain undiagnosed and unaware that they have this severe condition. If left untreated, sleep apnea is linked to serious health issues, such as high blood pressure, depression, stroke, obesity, cancer, and even diabetes.

There are three main types of sleep apnea, which include:

Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your upper airway is blocked during sleep. This can result in the chest muscles and diaphragm working harder to open the blocked airways to let air go through the lungs. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause irregular heart rhythms as well as reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs. Most individuals are not aware that this is occurring while they sleep during the night.

Central sleep apnea: Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain cannot send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. However, central sleep apnea doesn’t cause blockages in the airway. There is a disconnection that happens between the brain and the muscles that control breathing and it causes this particular type of sleep apnea.

Complex sleep apnea: This type is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea happens when a person has a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. A person who previously had OSA develops central sleep apnea because of treatment received and with the constant use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.

Major symptoms of sleep apnea can include loud snoring, dry mouth, headaches, and sleepiness during the day, waking up consistently during the night, and other symptoms.
If you think you have sleep apnea, participating in a sleep study in a lab or at home can show the cause of your sleep disruption. Sleep apnea can be effectively diagnosed, and there are many effective treatment options available. Contact Silent Night Therapy by calling us at 631-983-2463 for more information about treatments.


How to Snooze Your Way to Better Health

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 at 10:16 am    

Gym memberships surge every January as people recommit themselves to improving their health. While being physically active and eating well are essential strategies to stay in shape, improving your health is just as much about rest as it is about exertion. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle without reassessing your sleep habits will hurt your chances of achieving your ultimate fitness goals. At Silent Night Therapy, we want to encourage our friends and neighbors to get healthy in the new year by committing themselves to better sleep habits.

The Issue

We live in a society where people want to see results. Many people set their fitness goals around an idea of how they hope to look. Often when people make resolutions, they are looking to push themselves, try harder, and do more. We see that over and over again that effort is rewarded. Setting a goal to get better rest challenges us to learn when to stop rather than continue pushing.

Committing to better rest involves learning to establish healthy boundaries, to learn when your body needs rest and recovery and to make sure that you honor that. While better sleep may feel like a counter-intuitive way to reach a healthier weight, the reality is that the quality and amount of sleep that you get impacts the food you crave, your mood, as well as your mental and physical agility.

Quick Tips 

Technology banMake the time that you sleep a haven from the digital demands of the rest of your day. Reclaim your time by getting into a more grounded routine.  

RoutineFor those looking to improve their sleep habits, consider establishing a concrete nightly routine. This may involve some light stretching, drinking tea, or reading a book. Being consistent with your routine will help you develop a steady rhythm for winding down.

Dark environmentWherever you are sleeping should be dark. Our bodies naturally respond to light, even when we are sleeping. If you have a television on in your room, even if it is muted, the light will affect the quality of your sleep.

The Good News

In spite of the struggles that we may have with sleep, whether it is insomnia, chronic stress, or any other issue, our bodies have a natural rhythm that can always be relearned. We have helped plenty of people who had lost hope that they’d be able to get back into a healthy sleeping habit. This year, pursue your health goals with the understanding that you will be able to achieve more if you rest more.

Get in touch with a member of our Silent Night Therapy team at (631) 983-2463 to find out if sleep apnea is impacting your quality of sleep, and how our services could help.

 

 

 


Nighttime Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018 at 2:08 pm    

Sleep apnea is a common but serious disorder which causes your breathing to start and stop during the night. Beyond just annoying your bed partner with your loud snoring, your sleep is rarely restful, leaving you exhausted during the day, which can have far-reaching consequences for your career and your personal life. Additionally, sleep apnea can damage your health, leading to weight gain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and liver problems.

With so many negative consequences of sleep apnea, we want to know whether or not we have it. The biggest problem here is that the main symptoms of sleep apnea happen while you’re asleep, so it’s difficult to know if you’re exhibiting those symptoms. While you can ask your bed partner to monitor you, they will likely fall asleep eventually and need their rest, as well. Recording audio while you sleep is a better choice, but sifting through eight hours of audio can be a pain.

Instead, you can download an audio recording app like this one that only starts recording when it hears sounds. That way, the audio you have to listen to will be limited to just the important parts.

Once you have your recordings, start listening for:

  • Exceptionally loud snoring for most of the night, every night
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Choking or gasping sounds

Since these are the main symptoms of starting and stopping breathing during the night, if you find them in your audio, you may have sleep apnea.

In addition to these symptoms you will only notice if you record yourself sleeping, you can also start tracking how often you experience the following:

  • Frequently using the bathroom during the night
  • Waking up out of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Restless sleep

These are also symptoms of sleep apnea. If you experience any of these, in addition to some or all of the symptoms found in your audio recordings, you may very likely have sleep apnea. Because sleep apnea is a very serious disorder, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

At Silent Night Therapy, we are committed to helping you get the best sleep of your life. Our oral sleep appliance team is dedicated to helping people who suffer from sleep apnea. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our New York offices today by calling (631) 983-2463.


Sleep apnea symptoms and risks

Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 at 1:24 am    

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that does not receive enough attention. If left untreated, individuals with sleep apnea can slowly starve their bodies of enough oxygen, leading to high blood pressure, heart failure, and even a stroke. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be dealing with sleep apnea, there are some symptoms and risks you should know about.

Age – Sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages, including children. The number one sign of sleep apnea is snoring, so it’s important to talk to your child’s pediatrician if your child snores as they sleep. It is important to know that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. However, if there are long pauses between breaths, followed by choking and gasping sounds, then the snoring is likely a symptom of sleep apnea. Pay careful attention during waking hours to identify possible symptoms of sleep deprivation. When you wake up, do you feel tired or have trouble concentrating? This may be a sign of sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea. On the other hand, if you feel rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep, then snoring is probably not a cause for concern.

Weight – Being overweight dramatically increases your risk of developing sleep apnea, but it is not always a factor. Some patients who are a normal weight or even slightly overweight can also suffer from sleep apnea. The structure of the face and the anatomy of the neck both play a role in contributing to a person’s risk of having sleep apnea. Large tonsils, small jaws, overbites, and large necks can contribute to having sleep apnea, therefore preventing a patient’s body from getting a healthy flow of oxygen throughout the night.

Sounds – Snoring is not always present in people with sleep apnea, and not snoring at night may give you a false sense of security. Experts predict that nearly 20 percent of patients suffering from sleep apnea do not snore while they sleep. Sleep apnea is already difficult to recognize on your own, and the most convincing proof is when someone else witnesses your unusual sleeping behavior. Sleep apnea occurs when regular breathing patterns are disrupted during sleep. The patient will pause for long periods of time and then suddenly and desperately gasp for air. Oftentimes, the person will wake up with a headache, a dry mouth, or a sore throat. All of these are considered symptoms of sleep apnea and should be treated by a medical professional.

Gender – Sleep apnea is more prominent in men than women, but many women also suffer from this condition. Because people associate the condition more often with men, women often go undiagnosed for longer. Some women may feel embarrassed to discuss snoring with their primary physician, or it may not be as noticeable to your partner. Women who have experienced menopause are at a higher risk of having sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can create disturbances throughout your day like mood swings, feelings of depression, and fatigue. If you feel as though your days get off to a rough start, you should strongly consider talking to your doctor about sleep apnea. Your body deserves and needs to get solid sleep so you can feel better during the day and night.

If you are struggling to sleep and are wondering if you might be suffering from sleep apnea, the professionals at Silent Night Therapy can help. Contact us at (631) 983-2463 to schedule a free sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Brown and our team today.