How to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

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Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 at 4:07 pm    

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes a person to repeatedly stop and start breathing as they sleep. Three main types of sleep apnea could develop:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea, causing the muscles and soft tissue at the back of the throat to relax. It blocks the airway, making it difficult to breathe while sleeping.
  • Central sleep apnea – Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t transmit necessary signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea – With complex sleep apnea, a person experiences symptoms of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Morning headaches
  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
  • Irritability
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Waking up with a dry mouth

If you notice any signs of sleep apnea, you should contact a sleep specialist immediately. Diagnosing this breathing disorder is crucial so you can begin treatment to manage the symptoms.

Tests Available for Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

An experienced sleep specialist can perform a range of tests to diagnose your sleep disorder. The specialist will obtain information regarding your sleep history and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Most people don’t realize they might have sleep apnea until a partner informs them of their loud snoring and their stop-breathing episodes. It’s a good idea to bring your partner with you to the evaluation. They could offer details you might not know.

A sleep study is a valuable test to diagnose sleep apnea and other breathing disorders. You can undergo a sleep study at home or in your doctor’s office.

During the test, equipment hooked up to your body monitors various bodily functions as you sleep, such as:

  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Lungs
  • Leg and arm movements
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Breathing patterns

A sleep specialist can evaluate the results of the test to determine whether you exhibited any signs of sleep apnea. If diagnosed, you can proceed with treatment to manage or relieve your symptoms for a better night’s sleep.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Oral appliance therapy is a popular treatment method for patients suffering from sleep apnea. You can wear a custom-made device in your mouth to keep your airways open as you sleep. This allows the necessary flow of air into your lungs so you can breathe easier and your sleep apnea episodes will be reduced.

Four common types of oral appliances include:

  • Dynaflex Dorsal – The Dynaflex Dorsal is one of the most popular oral appliances used for treating obstructive sleep apnea. The comfortable device contains two pieces and hardware to keep the jaw in a specific position while sleeping. It reduces snoring and allows lateral jaw movement.
  • Respite Blue + – The Respite Blue+ is a custom oral appliance that keeps the airways open using a dual block design and interlocking wings. The wearer can sleep in any position and still breathe easily.
  • The Adjustable Herbst – This two-piece device consists of hinged mechanisms on the lower and upper faces with advancement screws. The screws allow titration and advancement of the mandible.
  • Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA) – The EMA is the smallest device out of these four. There are two individual trays consisting of two millimeter vacuum form material. The straps on the device can vary in flexibility and length, allowing for lateral jaw movement.

Contact Silent Night Therapy

Silent Night Therapy provides a range of services our patients need to sleep better at night. If you suffer from sleep apnea symptoms, you should contact us for an appointment. We can perform a sleep test to diagnose your breathing disorder and create a customized treatment plan.

Your journey to quality sleeps starts with Silent Night Therapy. Call us at 631-983-2463 today.