So many people have sleep issues. You know you are not alone and sleep is critical to your health. There are things to do for sleep health.. but if it is sleep apnea...
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
According to The Mayo Clinic, the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include poor sleep quality due to:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep witnessed by another person
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Getting up with a dry mouth or sore throat or morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia).
Rather than quality sleep, symptoms of sleep apnea result in:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Attention problems
Question: If home remedies don't work and you or your loved one still has sleep apnea symptoms how do you get a proper diagnosis for sleep apnea?
Answer: Go to your internist for a sleep test.
The National Sleep Foundation discusses the sleep study called polysomnography. This overnight test can be used to determine a diagnosis of sleep apnea, as well as other disorders like restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking, REM sleep disorder, etc..
What is a sleep study?
The study is non-invasive, non-surgical and lasts only about 8 hours.
You go to the sleep study doctor and then to an over night place where the sleep study is given.
You get there at night, quite late—an hour or so before your regular bedtime, in fact.
During that day, perhaps you attempt to be active in your life: walking more than usual, visiting, working, working out, doing hobbies, etc., so that you are tired by the time you go for the study.
You are greeted in a laboratory-type, modern office, usually, and they show you to a hotel-type small room with a luxury bed and bath (en suite of course) and they give you paperwork to fill out.
Once you complete all of that, they show you various machinery which all have electrodes at the ends-and they hook you up through your scalp, etc. so they can read your brain activity in all areas of your brain (EEG), your eye movements for REM, oxygen levels in your blood via sensors to your fingers, your heart and respiratory rates, etc..
As you sleep, the machines do the work recording your temperature, your respiration, heart activity, presence of snoring, getting up or not, restorative sleep and stages of sleep, etc.. so that after the study, the sleep study doctor, can figure out and diagnose what is occurring with you while you are sleeping and then let you know if your sleep is healthy or not.
It is cumbersome to go through having all the electrodes on your scalp, and other areas, it smells a bit chemically, and a bit daunting to be doing this and considering how you can sleep being hooked up like this, but the staff tries to make it as pleasant as possible.
Of course you bring your own night clothes but no pets, nor friends are allowed of course!
Some people find the test to be quite easy and they claim to get better sleep than in their own bedrooms, somehow—perhaps because the sleep study is done in a room that looks like a small hotel room and you are totally taken care of --head to toe so to speak!
What if there is a diagnosis of sleep apnea? How do people with sleep apnea improve?
- It is then quite common to be on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The constant steady air pressure from this small machine includes a mask/nose piece or hose and conforms to your breathing needs so that your brain always gets the oxygen it requires for your health .
- Or a BiPAP machine is prescribed when someone has low oxygen levels caused from COPD/lung or neuromuscular disorder, or congestive heart failure disorder. It is used when patient has difficulty exhaling and it can be set to a timer for the number of breaths per minute.
- There is also ASV-adaptive servo-ventilation machine which stores your normal breathing patterns and the airflow pressure it provides, prevents pauses in the breathing.
- Another apparatus for your nose can be had by prescription and opens your nostrils so that you get air that way continuously.
- Sometimes if the sleep apnea is not severe, the doctor will suggest a mouth guard to open the airways at night.
- And in some cases there are surgical options on the uvula, the tonsils, restructuring of the jaw, etc..
There are many effective devices being developed for sleep apnea so that you can choose with your doctor what might be best for you!
Compliance is key or your health will suffer for it.
Sleep apnea is linked to many serious diseases including heart disease and dementia.
You can choose to breath at night! And you can choose to be healthy in your life!
We can choose!
Choose to win!