The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Sleep Apnea

The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Sleep Apnea



How can I tell if​ I have sleep apnea and​ how can I treat it?

Diagnosis
The typical patient with sleep apnea is​ an​ overweight middle-aged male with a​ neck size of​ more than 17 inches. However, the​ condition is​ also common in​ women and​ not all sufferers are overweight. Almost everybody who has sleep apnea is​ a​ snorer, often a​ very heavy snorer. Pauses in​ breathing during sleep are commonly noticed by a​ bed partner but this history is​ often lacking and​ up to​ five "events" per hour are considered normal.

One of​ the​ more consistent symptoms is​ "nonrestorative sleep" meaning that the​ patient wakes in​ the​ morning feeling unrefreshed no matter how much he slept during the​ night. Excessive daytime sleepiness is​ common in​ sleep apnea of​ any severity but some patients complain of​ fatigue rather than sleepiness. However, many patients with severe sleep apnea have no complaint of​ sleepiness or​ fatigue.

The most accurate diagnostic tool, polysomnography, can confirm the​ diagnosis and​ assist the​ doctor in​ identifying the​ type of​ sleep apnea present. in​ the​ past, this test was only done in​ hospitals and​ in​ specialized sleep laboratories. There are now portable sleep recording systems that can perform unattended polysomnography in​ the​ patient's home, but in-laboratory testing with a​ technician present remains the​ standard and​ is​ required by many insurers including Medicare before they will pay for​ treatment of​ sleep apnea.

With advances in​ portable electronics, patients can now use a​ small device called a​ pulse oximeter, which is​ attached to​ a​ fingertip to​ measure the​ oxygen saturation of​ the​ blood (percent of​ the​ total hemoglobin that is​ combined with oxygen). This non-intrusive monitor measures the​ difference in​ the​ color of​ the​ oxygenated and​ of​ the​ deoxygenated hemoglobins. Recordings of​ blood oxygen saturation during sleep may give an​ estimate of​ the​ severity of​ the​ problem although it's not been the​ most reliable screening tool.

Treatment
There are a​ variety of​ treatments for​ sleep apnea, depending on an​ individual’s medical history and​ the​ severity of​ the​ disorder. Most treatment regimens begin with lifestyle changes, such as​ avoiding alcohol and​ medications that relax the​ central nervous system (for example, sedatives and​ muscle relaxants), losing weight, and​ quitting smoking.

Some people are helped by special pillows or​ devices that keep them from sleeping on their backs. Some cases are treated with oral appliances to​ keep the​ airway open during sleep.

If these conservative methods are inadequate, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). a​ face mask is​ attached to​ a​ tube and​ a​ machine that blows pressurized air into the​ mask and​ through the​ airway to​ keep it​ open. There are also surgical procedures that can be used to​ remove tissue and​ widen the​ airway. Some individuals may need a​ combination of​ therapies to​ successfully treat their sleep apnea.

In conclusion, sleep apnea left untreated can be life threatening. Excessive daytime sleepiness can cause people to​ fall asleep at​ inappropriate times, such as​ while driving. Sleep apnea also appears to​ put individuals at​ risk for​ stroke and​ transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, also known as​ “mini- strokes”), and​ is​ associated with coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, gout and​ high blood pressure.

Although there is​ no cure for​ sleep apnea, recent studies show that successful treatment can reduce the​ risk of​ heart and​ blood pressure problems.




You Might Also Like:




No comments:

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.