What is Sleep Apnea?
Posted: October 30, 2018
Sleep apnea is a condition that makes you stop breathing for short periods of time while you are asleep. Eighty to ninety percent of people with sleep apnea do not know they have the condition and do not realize the need for sleep apnea treatment. They do sometimes wake up startled or gasping for breath. They also often hear from their family that they snore.
There are 3 types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – you stop breathing because your throat narrows or closes when you are asleep. When people talk about sleep apnea, they are usually referring to obstructive sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea – you stop breathing because your brain does not send the right signals to your muscles to make you breathe.
Mixed Apnea – you have both obstructive and central apnea.
Why should I care about sleep apnea? Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Yes, it can be. People with sleep apnea do not get good-quality sleep, so they are often tired and not alert. This puts them at risk for daytime fatigue. Several studies have shown that people with sleep apnea are more likely than others to have high blood pressure, heart attacks, other serious heart problems, strokes, diabetes, depression and sexual dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, tiredness, and daytime sleepiness. Other symptoms can include: restless sleep, waking up at night choking or gasping, morning headaches, dry mouth, sore throat, waking up often to urinate, sexual dysfunction and impotency, waking up in the morning feeling unrested or groggy, trouble thinking clearly or remembering things. Some people with sleep apnea do not have any symptoms, or rather they don’t know they have them. They may think it’s normal to be tired or to snore a lot. Some people are wrongly diagnosed with depression.
Is there a test for sleep apnea?
Yes. If your doctor at Low T Center suspects you have sleep apnea, he/she might offer you a home sleep test. The home sleep test is a device you connect yourself to at night when you go to bed and it monitors your heart rate, breathing, oxygen and body movements. It is a very simple test and very easy to perform. The results of the test will tell your doctor if you have sleep apnea.
What would happen next if I am diagnosed with sleep apnea?
The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep. Treatment with this device is called “continuous positive airway pressure,” or CPAP. People getting CPAP wear a face mask with light pressure at night that keeps them from stopping to breathe and opens their airway.
If you have sleep apnea your doctor at Low T Center will offer you a CPAP machine. Try to be patient while using it. The mask may seem uncomfortable to wear at first but using the machine every night will help your overall health and well-being. Most people acclimate to the machine in just a few weeks. Low T Center has a call center to help with any CPAP needs, so you do not feel alone while on treatment. Your provider will monitor your progress every few weeks to keep you updated on your results.
Most people with sleep apnea who use a CPAP machine feel more rested and better overall. In addition, their blood pressure, glucose levels, sexual function, mood and overall health have been seen to dramatically improve after being on CPAP for a few weeks.
Is there anything I can do on my own to help my sleep apnea?
Yes. A few things you can do to help sleep apnea are: sleep on your side instead of your back, lose weight (weight loss has been associated with improvement in sleep apnea symptoms) and avoid alcohol (alcohol can make sleep apnea worse).
How do I know I am doing well on my CPAP?
Some indicators that you are doing well on your CPAP may include: waking up feeling refreshed, increased energy over the day, improvement in blood pressure, sugar levels, and even sexual function.
How do I get my machine, mask and supplies?
Low T Center will supply your CPAP machine, mask and all CPAP supplies needed on a regular basis. Any issues you may face with your apnea management, please call the Low T Center Sleep helpline 855-636-5486 and your question will be accelerated to the Sleep Specialist if needed. Low T Center will make sure you are always taken care of and comfortable during your sleep therapy.
FREQUENCY OF REPLACEMENT SUPPLIES:
EVERY TWO WEEKS
Nasal Pillow Nasal
Full Face Cushion
EVERY 3 MONTHS
EVERY 6 MONTHS
Full Face Mask (includes cushion, headgear and frame)
Nasal Pillow Interface (includes cushion, headgear and frame)
Head Gear Water Chamber
These are general recommendations, but it is up to the patient to decide when new supplies are needed and how frequently they want to replace their supplies.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.