What is Sleep Apnea? – Mangum, OK
What to Look Out For & How It Can Be Treated
Sleep apnea is a very sneaky disorder. You go to bed, sleep like you normally do, but when you wake up, you feel like you haven’t slept at all. This leads many patients to simply power through the exhaustion, often with the help of caffeine. This is a problem more than 25 million Americans are dealing with right now, and that number is expected to only increase as the years go by. Of course, this leads to questions like, “ What is sleep apnea? What causes it? What are its symptoms? Can it be treated?”
At EZ Sleep Solutions, Dr. Lively and our team are able to not only answer these questions for our patients but provide treatment as well so they can turn their dreary days into ones filled with energy and optimism. To start understanding sleep apnea little more so you can finally overcome it, read on below.
Sleep Apnea Basics
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person experiences brief lapses in breathing while they sleep, usually for less than 10 seconds. This can happen up to 100 times an hour, repeatedly interrupting the sleep cycle so someone isn’t able to get the regenerative sleep they need to function normally the next day.
When the breath is cut off, a few things instantly happen. Firstly, the body panics, which causes blood pressure to skyrocket. This change can remain even after breathing has been restored and a person is awake, drastically increasing their risk for things like heart attack and stroke. Then, the body partially wakes up in order to restore normal respiration. Most people have little to no memory of their apnea episodes in the morning, leaving them to wonder why they feel so tired all the time.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is much more common, and it occurs when the soft tissues in the mouth and throat over-relax as a person sleeps and blocks their airway. Things like having large tonsils or adenoids, a constantly stuffy nose, and a thick neck can make someone more likely to develop OSA. Obesity is also one of the leading preventable causes of OSA because excessive fatty tissue around the throat can make it narrower and easier to close during sleep.
Central sleep apnea (CSA), on the other hand, is a neurological issue in which the brain literally doesn’t send the body the signal to breathe. This can be due to a number of other health conditions, such as heart and kidney failure, stroke, or if a person is on certain drugs, particularly opiates.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
People who are suffering from sleep apnea will typically experience some of the following symptoms:
- Persistent daytime exhaustion
- Loud snoring every night
- Waking up gasping or feeling out of breath
- Morning headaches and sore throats
- Depression/mood swings
- Weight gain/trouble losing weight
- Diminished focus/memory
- Sexual dysfunction
How Sleep Apnea Can be Treated
If someone is worried that they may have sleep apnea, they should immediately consult a doctor. People in Mangum are encouraged to fill out our STOP-BANG Assessment so our team can evaluate their risk for the condition. If it is likely that someone has sleep apnea based on their assessment, we will have them take an at-home sleep test, which will monitor their breathing while they sleep. A sleep doctor will go over the results from the test in order to make a diagnosis.
If it turns out that a patient does indeed have sleep apnea, then it’s a question of how it will be treated. CPAP therapy, in which a patient literally wears a mask connected to an air pump, is the most popular treatment prescribed today, but many patients find it extremely uncomfortable due to the machine’s bulk and noise. This is where Dr. Lively can help.
For patients with OSA or who are CPAP intolerant, he can provide them with a solution called oral appliance therapy, in which a patient simply wears a small mouthguard to bed that’s designed to keep the airway open. Many patients find this approach much more comfortable and easier to use, and you can learn more about it on our page here.
Snoring is More than Just Annoying
In addition to exhaustion, consistently snoring every night is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. While many people simply write it off as a quirk of their friend, partner, or spouse, it shouldn’t be ignored completely. Just because someone snores doesn’t automatically mean they have sleep apnea, but it does indicate that they are not sleeping as well as they could, plus they are also more likely to develop sleep apnea in the future. Fortunately, it’s possible to stop snoring using an oral appliance, which can improve the sleep quality of both a patient as well as anyone who sleeps around them.
Is Sleep Apnea Therapy Covered By Insurance?
Most medical insurance plans will provide coverage for someone in need of sleep apnea therapy, and that’s true whether they get a CPAP machine or oral appliance. For patients here at EZ Sleep Solutions, our team is more than happy to help them negotiate the ins and outs of their medical insurance plan so they are easily able to afford their appliance.
Start Improving Your Sleep Today
Sleep apnea can have serious consequences for both your short and long-term health, but effective treatment is easily available here in Mangum. To learn more about the disorder and how you can overcome it with EZ Sleep Solutions, contact us today.