In general: Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes breathing to continually stop and start during sleep.
In detail, Sleep Apnea refers to a range of disorders, but the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea when your throat muscles repeatedly relax and block airways during sleep. When the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off.
At Advanced Homecare Online, we have several treatment options for Sleep Apnea. A physician and our patient specialists can determine exactly what you need. You may be required to use a mouthpiece as you sleep, or often patients are treated with a device that uses positive pressure to keep airways open during sleep. In some cases, surgery may even be an option too.
To check if you have sleep apnea while you sleep, you can ask if your partner has noticed you:
- Making gasping, snorting, or choking noises
- Waking up a lot
- Snoring loudly
- Your breathing stopping and starting
Daytime symptoms of sleep apnea often include:
- Feeling very tired
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Having mood swings
- Having a headache when you wake up
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Yes! Sleep Apnea can be dangerous if it’s not diagnosed and treated. Lack of sleep can cause additional issues such as a low immune system, problems completing simple tasks, and disorientation. So, it’s important to look out for the following symptoms or ask a friend, a partner, spouse, sibling, or parent to help you diagnose:
- Your breathing stops and starts while you sleep
- You make gasping, snorting, or choking noises while you sleep
- You always feel very tired during the day
How Will I Be Tested For Sleep Apnea?
If your doctor thinks you might have sleep apnoea, they may refer you to a specialist sleep clinic for tests.
At the clinic, you may be given devices that check things like your breathing and heartbeat while you sleep. You’ll be asked to wear these overnight so doctors can check for signs of sleep apnoea. You can usually do this at home, but sometimes you may need to stay in the clinic overnight.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
When you’re diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, you will almost always be prescribed PAP therapy. There are several types of PAP machines, depending on the settings your doctor has prescribed.
A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine gently pumps air into a mask you wear over your mouth or nose while you sleep. When breathing on a CPAP, the air pressure is the same, whether inhaling or exhaling. This positive air pressure acts like pillars in a tunnel, keeping your airway open during the night.
Automatic Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is often referred to as an Auto CPAP. This type of therapy is set with a specific range of pressures. The machine will generally blow the lowest pressure programmed until it starts sensing apnea events. At that point, the pressure will rise in strength until normal breathing resumes.
A BiLevel CPAP Machine is commonly known as a BIPAP or a VPAP. These machines use two different pressures, one for inhales and another for exhales. These are generally used when CPAP has failed as a treatment for Sleep Apnea.
Adaptive Servo Ventilation is a non-invasive ventilatory treatment option created specifically to treat adults with Central Sleep Apnea, Complex Sleep Apnea, and Cheynes-Stokes Respiration. Unlike obstructive Sleep Apnea, where an obstruction blocks the airway, Central Sleep Apnea occurs because your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. The main difference is that the ASV supports regular breathing, using an algorithm to detect significant reductions or pauses in breathing.
The BiLevel ST is a variation of BiLevel that is often used for patients with Central or Complex Sleep Apnea, heart palpitations, or ALS. It is like a ventilator in that it will initiate a breath for the patient.
Less common treatments for sleep apnoea include:
- A gum shield-like device that holds your airways open while you sleep (mandibular advancement device)
- Surgery to help your breathing, such as removing large tonsils
Since opening as a small team of three back in 2005, our mission at Advanced Homecare Online has been to provide the very best Sleep Apnea Treatments for our patients.
We specialize in one-on-one relationships. Our office team members and Patient Care Instructors are committed to educating their patients about their condition and understanding each patient’s specific needs.
We’re proud of what we do. Contact us to find out how we can help treat your Sleep Apnea now!