Many people would not have heard of Sleep Apnea, but it is a common disorder that affects a considerable number of people. It is a pretty common malady that often goes undiagnosed.
What exactly is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. It has been described as a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep and upsets your lifestyle. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you will often shift from deep sleep into light sleep. As a result, your quality of sleep is really poor, and that makes you tired during the day. Sleep Apnea is one of the leading factors for excessive daytime sleepiness.
What is the cause of Sleep Apnea?
The breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and they may occur 30 times or more in an hour. Later, the normal breathing then resumes, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
As said earlier, Sleep Apnea is not something that can be diagnosed easily. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during a routine checkup, as no blood test can help diagnose the condition. Most people who have Sleep Apnea do not know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. The most common type of Sleep Apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, in which condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When the person tries to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is very common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. Small children who have enlarged tonsil tissues in their throats may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea you will wake you up in the morning feeling tired and dull even though you have had a full night’s sleep. During the day, you may feel fatigued and tired and may have difficulty concentrating or you may even go to sleep unintentionally. This is the result of your body being deprived of undisturbed sleep.
One of the symptoms most commonly associated with Sleep Apnea is snoring, but everyone who snores does not have the disorder. But, if the snoring is accompanied by choking or gasping sounds, it is likely to be Sleep Apnea.
The symptoms of Sleep Apnea are:
- Daytime fatigue
- Loud or frequent snoring
- Choking or gasping while you sleep
- Pauses in breathing
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Insomnia due to difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up with dry mouth or a sore throat
- Frequent need to urinate during the night
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory or learning problems
- Moodiness, irritability, or depression
Effects of Sleep Apnea
The lack of oxygen in your body during the night can have negative long-term consequences on your health. Some of the consequences of the disorder can lead to:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart disease
- Pre-diabetes and diabetes
Sleep Apnea Self Testing
A certified sleep medicine doctor can diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea using an in-lab sleep study or a home Sleep Apnea test. A sleep physician has training and expertise in diagnosing and treating the disorder.
Before the test, the doctor would need to know your symptoms, and other personal details such as recent weight gain, and the quantum of physical exercise you do every day. He would also ask your wife or family members about your snoring details and if you make any choking noises in your sleep.
You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary for two weeks. This includes information about what time you go to bed each night when you get up in the morning, and how many times you wake up each night. This will help the doctor see your sleep patterns, which may contain clues about how to diagnose and correct your sleep problem.
Sleep Apnea Self Test at Home
A Home Sleep Apnea test or Sleep Apnea Self Test is designed to be a convenient way to collect information about your sleep. Home Sleep Apnea testing provides a certified sleep doctor with the information he or she needs to diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It allows you to sleep at home wearing equipment that collects information about how you breathe during sleep. You will have to set up the testing equipment yourself. This type of sleep study lets you sleep in the comfort of your own home while a small monitor collects data as you sleep. Some patients with high risk factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea may be candidates for a Home Sleep Apnea test.
There are a number of home Sleep Apnea testing devices that have different sensors and equipment. These devices measure your breathing, and blood oxygen level. Some devices also measure your heart rate and other information about your body.
If you are Taking a Sleep Apnea Self Test, You Ought to Remember to:
- Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible.
- Avoid naps
- Eliminate use of caffeine after lunch
- Speak with your doctor if you are on a regular medication – he or she may recommend that you temporarily discontinue using the medication.
Your doctor will give you instructions on how to use the home sleep apnea self test device. Ask your doctor questions if there is anything you do not understand. You can go to sleep at your regular bedtime. When you are ready to sleep, you should attach the sensors to your body as instructed. You may be asked to keep a sleep log or a record of the time when you get into bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors and take the device back to your doctor.
If the results are abnormal, your doctor may be able to prescribe a therapy without further testing. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist to rule out any blockage in your nose or throat. An evaluation by a cardiologist or a neurologist may be necessary to look for causes of Central Sleep Apnea.
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