A Beginner’s Guide to Sleep Apnea

A Beginner’s Guide to Sleep Apnea

You’ve been to the doctor and were diagnosed with sleep apnea. Now what? 

Most people think that their diagnosis means a lifetime of nights hooked up to a CPAP machine. That doesn’t have to be the case! As sleep apnea becomes more common, new alternatives are popping up to help you deal with your diagnosis. 

Before we get into that, it is important to understand what sleep apnea actually is and how you are diagnosed with it.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is more than just snoring at night. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your airway becomes constricted which causes oxygen to your brain to become cut off. This leads to you waking up at night struggling to catch your breath. In turn, it causes your heart to work harder and it prevents you from getting the restful sleep that you deserve. This can lead to serious long-term health defects.

How Can You Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea?

If you’re wondering if you have sleep apnea, ask yourself if you’ve experienced any of the following:

  • Louder than normal snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Waking up with headaches
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Still feeling unrested after a full night’s sleep

If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, your doctor can help.  They will usually refer you to a sleep clinic or get you to use a take-home test to monitor your sleep activity.

How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?

If your doctor diagnoses you with sleep apnea, don’t worry. You are not alone. Sleep apnea no longer means long nights hooked up to a loud and uncomfortable machine. Treatment can be as simple as a small mouth appliance. Dr. Andrea Stevens can provide you with a custom fitted mouthpiece that helps treat sleep apnea in an unobtrusive way by pushing your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open while you sleep.

There are many things to worry about. Your sleep shouldn’t be one of them. Contact Dr. Andrea Stevens to discuss treatment for your sleep apnea and start getting the restful sleep that you deserve. We can also refer you to a sleep physician for a diagnosis if you need one.

 

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