Diagnosis & Treatment

The sleeping disorder Sleep Apnea

All About Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a very serious sleep disorder. If you ever wake up exhausted, even after 7+ hours of sleep, you could be part of the 6-10% of people who suffer from Sleep Apnea. Does your partner complain that you snore? Snoring may not be so harmless after all in Sleep Apnea patients – most of whom are unaware that they are suffering from the condition. Do you jump awake in the middle of the night? You may have Sleep Apnea. This disorder causes sufferers to stop breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. These pauses, medically known as “Apneas,” can happen more than 30 times an hour. Apneas are typically accompanied by loud snoring, cardiovascular stress, difficulty falling asleep, and more.

Other Sleep Apnea Symptoms include:

  • Choking or gasping
  • Breathing that stops during sleep
  • Frequent Urination during sleeping hours
  • Night sweats
  • Morning headaches
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced libido
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from Sleep Apnea, there are two critical steps that must be followed: Diagnosis, and Treatment.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

If you think you may have Sleep Apnea, contact your family doctor without delay. He or she will perform a physical exam, and examine your family history for Sleep Apnea. If your doctor suspects that you have the sleep disorder, he or she will refer you to a sleep laboratory.

Sleep laboratories specialise in “Sleep Studies,” otherwise known as “Polysomnograms.” Depending on your circumstances, this test may be done at a hospital or even at home. During the study, numerous clinical measurements are taken:

  • Blood Oxygen Saturation
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing Frequency
  • Brain Activity
  • Eye Movement
  • Body/Limb Movement
  • Movement of Air Through Passageways

 

The sleep study results will be reviewed, and a copy will be sent to your referring doctor. From there, your doctor can prescribe the treatment they believe is best suited to your needs. The final exam you’ll need is called a “Titration Test,” an indispensable tool for locating the air pressure needed to keep your airways open. You can try out different mask options to find your perfect fit, and finally keep Sleep Apnea at bay.

 

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The solution we specialise in at HealthySleep is called CPAP. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is renowned for being the most effective form of treatment for Sleep Apnea. The CPAP device is a small machine (smaller than a shoebox) that uses pressurised air to keep your airways open. The device connects to a mask via a hose. In today’s world, there are many Sleep Apnea masks to choose from. It’s important to test out each one to find the perfect, most comfortable fit. Failure to do so can result in a dry nose/mouth, blocked nose, sore throat, skin irritation, stomach bloating, and headaches.

The premier alternative to CPAP is called an APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure). With this machine, air pressure adjustment is placed on "auto-pilot" – so you can worry about sleeping and sleeping only. APAP machines are prescribed depending on the pressure level you need during sleeping hours.

As with any disorder, medical intervention isn’t always enough. One cannot scratch the surface and expect to see lasting improvements. It’s vital to look at your lifestyle and see if there are any potential bad habits that are holding you back. These can include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain medications (Consult your family GP)
  • Sleeping on your back and not your side
  • Propping up your head and neck during sleep

 

At the end of the day, the treatment you choose depends on what you are going through. No two people are the same. If you are desperate to treat your Sleep Apnea and breathe easier for years to come, give us a call, send us an email or fill out our online form today. With the right people by your side, you can be in control of your Sleep Apnea – not the other way around.