Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition in which your breathing stops for several seconds while you sleep. You may not wake up or be aware of it, though it may happen hundreds of times a night. People are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, mood disorders, and many other potentially fatal illnesses—they are even at an increased risk for serious car accidents. Fortunately, sleep apnea treatment improves your sleep, improves your health, and reduces your risk.
Whether you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or simply suspect it, Dr. Roger Roubal can help. Dr. Roubal is the foremost expert in the Omaha, Nebraska and entire Midwest area. Please call (402) 493-4175 or click here to schedule an appointment.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops while you sleep. It stops long enough that your brain has to partially awaken to restart breathing. There are two types.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of apnea. In fact, the vast majority of sufferers have obstructive sleep apnea. In (OSA), breathing stops because your airway collapses, preventing air from reaching your lungs.
Central Sleep Apnea is a less common form of sleep apnea, affecting far fewer sufferers than does OSA. In central sleep apnea, breathing stops because your brain stops sending the breathe command to your body.
A small minority of sufferers have both types.
Because you stop breathing while you sleep, you may not notice them. About 70% of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers snore. Your co-sleeper may notice your snoring and notice that it stops in a choking sound. Whether or not you snore, you should look for these symptoms and related conditions:
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth
- Feeling unrested when you wake
- Daytime sleepiness, fatigue, or tiredness
- Memory difficulties
- Lack of focus
- Lack of motivation
- Mood disorders or sudden moodiness
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Elevated blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
If you notice several of these symptoms, you should talk to a doctor.
Sleep Tests to Diagnose
A sleep test, called a polysomnogram (PSG), is the preferred way to accurately diagnose sleep apnea. In this test, your breathing, oxygen levels, heartbeat, and more are monitored while you sleep. The test will detect episodes when your breathing stops, determine how low your oxygen levels sink, and how much this affects other body systems. The sleep test will determine whether you have mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea based on the number of your apneic episodes.
Sleep tests can be conducted in a sleep lab or at home using an ambulatory sleep test. We often use WatchPat, which is easy-to-use, relatively comfortable, and highly accurate. In fact, take-home sleep tests are nearly as accurate as in the lab tests in terms of breathing or oxygen problems. Both the home sleep tests and the overnight in lab tests are reviewed by a board certified sleep physician and the M.D. is responsible for the diagnosis.
Depending on your insurance company, they might not recognize the at home ambulatory sleep test as a diagnosing tool. On the other hand, some insurance require home study testing if the patient doesn’t have any other significant disease such as hypertension or diabetes. We may recommend a complimentary home sleep screening before we refer you to have a PSG or an at home ambulatory sleep test.
Once you have received your diagnosis, Dr. Roubal can discuss the right treatment for you such as the oral appliance or another CPAP alternative, these alternatives are discussed if you are concerned that CPAP treatment (most physicians first choice of treatment for their patients) wouldn’t be the right choice for you.
For more information, please call Dr. Roger Roubal at (402) 493-4175 in Omaha, Nebraska today for an appointment.