Sleep apnea is a condition that prevents you from getting a full night’s sleep. It’s also linked to a number of other health problems.
Symptoms include feeling tired, drowsy and irritable in the daytime. They can also cause trouble concentrating, depression and even heart disease.
If your doctor suspects sleep apnea Nashville TN, they’ll start by asking about your symptoms and doing a physical exam. They’ll look for snoring, and they may want to ask about your family’s history for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
Your doctor will probably recommend that you get a test called polysomnography. This test uses sensors to measure your breathing, heart rate and other information while you sleep. The results of the test can show if you have sleep apnea, and how severe it is (AHI score).
You’ll need to spend a night in a specialist sleep clinic for this. They’ll give you devices to wear that can monitor your breathing and heartbeat while you sleep.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you think you might have sleep apnea because it can be very serious if left untreated. People with this condition are more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease and a stroke than those without sleep apnea.
Lifestyle changes are often needed to normalize breathing during sleep and reduce the number of episodes of sleep apnea. These may include losing weight, cutting down on smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.
Other treatment options include using a special device to hold your tongue in the correct position when you sleep, or a CPAP machine that helps your airway stay open while you sleep. These treatments work by relaxing the muscles in your throat and allowing air to travel through your mouth and into your lungs.
A CPAP machine also stimulates the phrenic nerves in your spine to help your lungs and diaphragm move together. This helps you breathe, and it can also be used to treat central sleep apnea, which happens when your brain doesn’t properly control your breathing.
Another type of sleep apnea is positional, which happens when your breathing stops or slows while you’re sleeping in one position (such as on your back). This can be treated by wearing a small device that vibrates as you change positions.
If your GP has a suspicion that you might have sleep apnea, they’ll refer you to a specialist. They’ll then order tests to see if you have the condition.
Your doctor will then decide if sleep apnea is the problem and recommend a treatment plan. It’s usually a combination of lifestyle and medical treatments, but it can also be surgery or a new medication.
Some people respond to treatment very quickly and don’t have to worry about symptoms anymore. Others need a few months of consistent treatment to get the best results.
Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your results from the tests, your health history and your symptoms. They’ll use a special sleep test called polysomnography to determine if you have sleep apnea. They’ll also check your blood pressure and heart rate to see if you have any other conditions that could be related to your sleep apnea.