What You Should Ask Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea

Have you been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea?  

man with sleep apneaSleep apnea is a common, serious sleep disorder that causes your breathing to become shallow, or stop completely during sleep.  In some cases, the pause in breathing, known as apnea, can last more than 10 seconds, and can happen hundreds of times during your sleep, which can make it difficult to achieve a good night’s rest.  

Despite it being a common condition, sleep apnea often goes un-diagnosed because of symptoms including loud snoring, gasping for air, and interruptions in breathing can occur during sleep without you even realizing it.

We know you may have some questions about it, and we’re here to answer some common questions you may have about sleep apnea.

What are common symptoms?

Loud snoring may be the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea, but it’s not the only symptom.  Excessive fatigue throughout the day is another common symptom, as well as loud gasping noises.

Are there risk factors I should be aware of?

While sleep apnea may be triggered by medical conditions including heart disorders, and taking medications, sleep apnea can often affect people who are overweight.  According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, many individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight, and physicians believe the extra tissue in the mouth and throat area blocks airways during the sleep process.

Who can diagnose or recommend me?

During your yearly wellness exam, your primary care physician will usually ask questions about your lifestyle including diet, exercise, and sleep patterns.  If they suspect you have sleep apnea, you may be ordered tests to rule out other conditions and develop a treatment plan for you.

Do I need to undergo a sleep study?

If the doctor suspects sleep apnea, your next step may be to have a sleep study performed overnight where technicians will monitor your sleep behaviors and sleeping patterns.

What do my study results mean?

You may not understand the dangers of sleep apnea until your doctors reviews your results with you.  Knowing the severity of the condition may help you determine if you can manage your treatment at home, or if you need more aggressive treatment.

What are my treatment options?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is usually recommended as the first treatment option to moderate severe sleep apnea.  You can find a CPAP machine and mask with difference accessories like humidifiers that can make your experienced more tolerable.

Is sleep apnea life-threatening?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to further health complications including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and more.  


Treatment at Synergy Immediate Care

At our medical clinic, we provide testing for sleep apnea and treatment with CPAP machines.  For more information about treatment options, please call to book an appointment at 703-942-5331.  We look forward to getting your health in check!

 

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