Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to abrupt reductions in your blood oxygen saturation. Your brain responds to this lack of oxygen by causing you to briefly awaken from sleep so that normal breathing can resume. This pattern can occur frequently throughout the night and you will most likely be unaware that it is happening. The result is constantly disrupted sleep that may leave you feeling tired and irritable throughout the day. Untreated OSA increases the risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, weight gain and depression.
An HST is a type of diagnostic test which is self-administered by the patient in his/her home, making it a convenient option for diagnosing or ruling out Sleep Apnea. A Lakeland Home Sleep Test records breathing effort, heart rate, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring. HSTs cannot be performed on children and cannot diagnose other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder or narcolepsy.
If you or your sleep partner has noticed you snoring particularly loud or excessively, or you experience daytime sleepiness, you are a good candidate for sleep testing. If you frequently wake up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat, experience occasional insomnia or find yourself waking up during sleep with a shortness of breath, these are also red flags that indicate you may have Sleep Apnea. If you have certain risk factors, including obesity, a family history of sleep apnea, a large neck circumference, enlarged tonsils and/or tongue, hypertension, diabetes, or asthma, you’re a good candidate to get tested. There are some individuals who are not candidates for home testing. If you have COPD, congestive heart failure, neuromuscular or neurodegenerative diseases, narcolepsy, or REM behavior disorder, you are not a good candidate for home sleep testing but should speak with your doctor about an in-lab sleep test.
You should try to limit caffeine and alcohol intake 24 hours before the test and try not to take a nap the day of the test. Also, if you are a caregiver for an infant or a bedridden individual, you should make alternate arrangements for the night of the test. Finally, go to bed at your normal time and get a good night’s sleep.
An estimated 18 million Americans have Sleep Apnea. Men get sleep apnea more often than women, however once women reach a postmenopausal age, they are just as likely as men to develop sleep apnea. Although risk factors including age, gender, obesity and family history can increase one’s risk for sleep apnea, the condition can occur in anyone.
No. While snoring can often be a sign of sleep apnea, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, conversely, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. However, snoring coupled with other symptoms such as a lack of restful sleep, frequent daytime fatigue or trouble concentrating may be signs of a sleep disorder, which a healthcare provider should evaluate.
Depending on the severity sleep apnea can be treated in a variety of ways. CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, is considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. CPAP includes a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and a device that gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This method of treatment is highly effective. Other methods of treating sleep apnea include: dental appliances, hypoglossal nerve stimulation and lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking. Some patients with mild sleep apnea or heavy snoring have fewer breathing problems when they are lying on their sides instead of on their backs.
CPAP therapy is the treatment of choice for treating Sleep Apnea. Some benefits of regular CPAP usage over time include reducing heart problems for people with heart disease, lower blood pressure both during the day as well as at night, and a reduction of daytime sleepiness. Treating sleep apnea can also assist with weight loss.
You should notice a decrease in daytime sleepiness, improved alertness, and an increase in quality of life related to better sleep quality. If you have hypertension, CPAP may help to reduce your blood pressure as well. Some people notice changes right away, others take several weeks before they notice an improvement.
You should use the PAP machine as ordered by your physician. However, it is generally recommended that you use your PAP machine every night. If at first you experience some difficulty staying asleep with the PAP device for a long period, it is recommended that you use it every night for as long as you can. Then try adding 30 minutes – 1 hour to your usage time nightly, until you have fully adapted to the machine.