Learning More About Sleep Apnea
posted: Jun. 04, 2019.
Sleep apnea isn’t something that you can just treat on your own—it requires proper evaluation and treatment from board certified sleep apnea doctors in Portland and Astoria, OR, who can determine not just the severity of your sleep disorder but also help you determine the treatment that is right for you.
That's why our sleep medicine team including Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Jennifer Kim are here to provide you with the care you need to understand and manage your sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include
- Pauses in breathing throughout the night
- Gasping sounds while sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Trouble concentration
- Mental fog
- Increased irritability
- Depressive or anxiety symptoms
- Insomnia or restless sleeping
- Morning headaches
- Waking up during the night to urinate
- Acid reflux/heartburn during the night
- Tooth grinding
Not all patients with sleep apnea have all or most of these symptoms. The symptoms can also vary in severity based on age. For example, in a child, sleep apnea may manifest as issues of attention or hyperactivity. For women, symptoms may include insomnia alone without any other observed symptoms.
In order to determine whether sleep apnea is present, we may consider either home sleep testing or in-laboratory sleep testing (at our clinic). There are pros and cons to both types of testing, which we will review with you at the time of your initial consultation.
Once you’ve undergone a sleep study, the next step is to create a treatment plan for you. This treatment plan will be based on how severe your sleep apnea is as well as other factors, including changes in severity based on position, stage of sleep and other medical conditions you may have. At your follow up appointment, we will review all treatment options including PAP (positive airway pressure), oral appliance therapy, surgery, Inspire neurostimulator therapy, Provent therapy and positional therapy.
Many patients can also benefit from lifestyle modifications that can help reduce symptoms. Certain lifestyle modifications that our sleep specialists in Portland and Astoria, OR, may recommend include,
- Losing excess weight or maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol, caffeine, and sedatives
While lifestyle changes can reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms, you may also require additional treatment, depending on the severity of your sleep apnea.
One common treatment option is CPAP therapy, in which the patient wears a mask interface over their nose and/or mouth. The mask is attached to a machine that generates a gentle air pressure to apply just the amount of pressure needed to keep the airways open and to prevent airflow obstruction.
Many patients may also benefit from getting oral appliance therapy. Using a custom-made device that fits over the upper and lower teeth, oral appliance therapy repositions the jaws to prevent the collapse of tissues in the back of the throat.
Surgical options including the UPPP (uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty) in which the uvula and part of the palate are removed, as well as the MMA (maxillomandibular advancement) in which both the upper and lower jaw are advanced forward to provide more airway space. These surgeries are performed by ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeons.
A newer option for treatment is the Inspire neurostimulator therapy, in which an implantable device has electrodes which stimulate the airway muscles to provider structure and tone during the night. Inspire surgery is used in patients who have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea with a BMI (body mass index) of 32 or less.
Other options including positional belts and collars as well as Provent therapy, which are nasal expiratory pressure stickers for the nasal passages that are used predominantly when camping or travelling internationally.
Pacific Sleep Program has two offices to ensure that patients living in Portland and Astoria, OR, get the comprehensive sleep care that they need. If you suspect that you might be dealing with sleep apnea, we recommend that you schedule a sleep medicine consultation with our clinic.