Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Your Quality of Life
What is Sleep Apnea Syndrome?
Sleep apnea syndrome is a disorder that includes abnormal respiration during sleep, resulting in disruption of sleep, snoring, drowsiness throughout the day, as well as chronic fatigue. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea are frequently overweight and suffer from elevated blood pressure, which can lead to additional health concerns.
How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea Syndrome?
While sleep apnea can technically affect individuals of any age, it typically is found in middle-aged and older adults who are overweight. If you find that you’ve been snoring loud enough to wake other family members; that you’ve been awakened by shortness of breath; and/or that you’re awakening with chest pain or a dry mouth, you may be displaying symptoms of sleep apnea syndrome.
However, only a physician can formally diagnose sleep apnea syndrome, so the first thing you’ll need to do is to call Advanced Family Medicine to schedule an appointment. During your visit, your doctor will likely begin by asking you a number of questions, including:
- How long have you been experiencing symptoms? Have they been ongoing, or only occasional?
- Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol?
- What medications do you take regularly?
- Do you have difficulty falling or remaining asleep?
- Are you constantly tired or fatigued during the day? Do you experience frequent mood swings?
In addition, your Advanced Family Medicine physician may run tests to diagnose sleep apnea syndrome, such as:
- Polysomnography – Your heart, lung, brain, breathing, blood oxygen, and arm movement activity will be monitored. This test will help rule out other sleep disorders as well.
- Oximetry – If you suffer from sleep apnea syndrome, your blood oxygen levels will drop while you’re asleep, which is what this test monitors and records.
- Portable Monitoring – If applicable in your specific circumstance, your physician may allow you to use portable polysomnography technology that can be worn in the comfort of your own home.
What are Some Common Treatments for Sleep Apnea Syndrome?
A variety of sleep apnea syndrome treatment options exist that can significantly improve fatigue, daytime drowsiness, and overall quality of life. However, no one treatment will work equally well for all patients.
If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea syndrome, the first thing your Advanced Family Medicine physician will likely recommend is to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising regularly, reducing or ceasing alcohol consumption and smoking, as well as alterations in how you sleep. If none of these work effectively, then your doctor may recommend additional therapies such as positive airway pressure, using an oral mouthpiece to open your throat, or even medications to reduce daytime sleepiness.
As a last resort, surgery may be an option if none of the above lifestyle changes or devices work. Some of the most common sleep apnea syndrome surgeries include removing tissue from the back of your throat, moving the upper and lower parts of your jaw forward, and even implants into the tissue of your soft palate.
Have Additional Questions or Concerns About Sleep Apnea Syndrome?
At Advanced Family Medicine, we recognize that sleep apnea syndrome can be a complex problem that has the ability to deeply affect your quality of life. That’s why, regardless of your specific questions or problems, we’re here to move you closer to a solution. Give us a call today at (425) 453-6838, and we’ll put you squarely on the road to success!