Everyone has the occasional bad night of sleep. However, for millions of Americans, every night is a bad night of sleep. No matter what you do, you wake up morning after morning feeling completely exhausted, like you never went to sleep in the first place. This is a condition known as sleep apnea. With diagnosis and proper treatment, your sleep quality, and quality of life can be restored. The Mugford Center is here to help.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When you have sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted for several seconds several times while you sleep. When you stop breathing, you wake up, even if you are unaware of it. This disrupts your sleep cycles, forcing you to restart them all over again each time. Not only does sleep apnea impact your sleep, leaving you exhausted, it can also affect your mental and physical health as well.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects how you breathe when sleeping. During sleep, normal breathing can be interrupted for 10 seconds or more hundreds of times during a single night. Untreated sleep apnea prevents you from getting enough deep, restorative sleep. Without enough deep sleep you may be sleepy, lack mental sharpness and be less productive. Long term health effects can be serious, including weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Diagnosing sleep apnea is typically done through a sleep study, which is performed in a sleep clinic. During your sleep study, which is called a polysomnogram, you are attached to machines that monitor and record different information while you sleep. Your heart rate, breathing, brain activities, blood oxygen levels, and the movements of your arms and legs are all monitored. After your sleep study is complete, the next day, the recorded information is read by a sleep specialist, who can interpret the results and diagnose sleep apnea or other sleep-related issues and prescribe you with appropriate treatment.
Can I Diagnose Sleep Apnea at Home?
It can be possible in some situations to diagnose sleep apnea at home. We evaluate your symptoms, which can be done with the help of your partner. We can also provide you with a simplified version of a sleep study that can be done in the comfort of your own home. The technology used measures your information while you sleep, such as your breathing, airflow, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. Home sleep studies cannot always detect sleep apnea. Depending on your symptoms, you may still be recommended for a sleep study in a clinic.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
There are a number of different treatments that may be recommended for sleep apnea.
Specialist: Talk to a doctor trained in sleep apnea. Come visit Dr. Mugford today to start the process.
Oxygen Aid: Use supplemental oxygen while sleeping. This will help treat the symptoms, but it may not address any underlying issues.
C-PAP Machine: A C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure) machine is a machine that delivers a constant flow of air through a small mask that is worn over your nose. This helps to keep your airway open while you sleep.
Oral Appliance: This treatment involves the use of a custom fit guard similar to a mouth guard that is worn while you sleep. These oral appliances, made by Dr. Mugford's office, help your airway to stay open by keeping your lower jaw forward and preventing soft tissues from falling into your airway.
Oral Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be required. There are a few different types of procedures that may be performed, including removing excess oral tissue or moving your lower jaw forward.
Can I Treat Sleep Apnea with a Home Remedy?
There are a few things that you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea until the condition is treated.
Healthy Choices: Changing lifestyle habits, such as quitting smoking or adding exercise to your routine can be helpful.
Exercise & Weight: Exercise can also help you to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Sleeping Position: Changing the position in which you sleep can also help. If you find that you continue to roll onto your back, a special pillow can aid in keeping you on your side.
Nasal Passage: Open your nasal passage via breathing strips, saline nasal flush, or a nasal dilator.
Head Position: Elevate your head using extra pillows or a body wedge.
Diet & Alcohol: Some people may have issues sleeping when they consume alcohol. Try eliminating alcoholic drinks from your diet to see if this helps.
Depending on your situation, and the severity of your sleep apnea, it may be possible to treat sleep apnea with a home remedy. For some, losing weight is all that is needed to eliminate sleep apnea. Exercise, particularly yoga, can help to improve blood oxygen levels. For congestion-related sleep apnea, a humidifier in your bedroom may help. Some individuals may be able to eliminate sleep apnea simply by quitting tobacco products or drinking alcohol.
Schedule Your Sleep Apnea Consultation Today
The proper diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can help you to get the sleep you need, restoring your quality of life. For more information or to schedule your consultation, call The Mugford Center today at (410) 260-0790. We can help identify and diagnose the severity of the sleep apnea and discuss the best treatment options for your unique situation. For more information about our practice, see our office information page.