Have you ever woken up feeling like you never went to sleep at all? Do you find that you become drowsy at random times throughout the day and it becomes hard to concentrate? Is restlessness a part of your daily routine? If so, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Though thousands of people are diagnosed with the condition each year, the number is even higher for those who go undiagnosed. It is a problem that is truly only most notable at night. While patients may suffer from some of the common symptoms such as headaches and daytime sleepiness, many don’t think that these problems are serious. Because the symptoms aren’t overly alarming, it’s rare that a patient will go to his/her doctor or dentist to have the problems examined. The commonality behind the symptoms of sleep apnea is what truly makes it that much more dangerous.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a night-time condition that causes the patient to stop breathing at various times throughout the night. Studies have shown that patients usually have pauses in normal breathing hundreds of times each night, each episode lasting up to 30 seconds, if not longer. It is diagnosed in three main types: obstructive, complex, and central sleep apnea. 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 some sort of blockage that occurs within the airway that impedes the natural flow of breathing. With central sleep apnea, the problems with breathing throughout the night occur because of a miscommunication within the brain. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of these two. This makes diagnosis even more vital as it’s important to not only know if you have it or not, but it’s crucial to know what type you have so that the treatment prescribed to you works flawlessly.
Sleep Apnea Testing
A sleep study (also called a polysomnogram) 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 such as the WatchPat (featured at right). In either case, the tests are completely painless and just take one night. At a sleep lab, the technicians may have you try a CPAP machine to see if that helps you. If you do not want to undergo a study in a lab that may involve a CPAP, then the take-home sleep study may be the better option for you, and is likely acceptable to your insurance carrier. The results are analyzed by a physician who will then give a definitive diagnosis. From there, Dr. Roubal can help you to find the treatment that is right for you.
Have Your Sleep Apnea Treated Today!
If you’re unsure if you have sleep apnea and are interested in being diagnosed and given the proper sleep apnea treatment that you require, Dr. Roubal, along with the help of a sleep physician, will be able to provide you with the answers you need. We want to help you as we know the true danger that lies behind untreated or improperly treated sleep apnea! Call our office at (402) 493-4175 or contact us online.