Do you often get woken up in the middle of the night by a severe coughing fit? Does your sleeping partner complain about your loud snoring? Restless nights and not getting enough hours of sleep are so normalized in our fast-paced world that bad sleeping patterns may not seem out of the ordinary. However, nighttime coughing fits and loud snoring may be signs you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you sleep. Out of the different types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax, collapsing the airway during sleep and blocking normal breathing. Loud snoring is one of the more obvious obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, but there are other signs to look out for.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you experience one or more of these symptoms listed below, there is a chance you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping or choking
- Periods of stopped breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Nighttime sweating
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Mood changes such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
Consult with your doctor on how to get a diagnosis and the different methods of treatment for sleep apnea if you are experiencing the following:
- Your snoring is disturbing you and your sleeping partner’s sleep
- Regularly waking up gasping or choking
- You stop breathing intermittently during sleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness causes you to fall asleep at work or while driving
How to Get an Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
In order to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you will need to consult with your doctor. They will make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms as well as the results of some tests. If they think its necessary, they may refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation.
With a physical examination, your doctor will look at the back of your throat, mouth, and nose to check for extra tissues or other abnormalities. They may also check your blood pressure, your weight, and your neck circumference. A sleep specialist will conduct additional evaluations in order to reach an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis, which can include multiple tests.
- Polysomnography (PSG).This sleep study hooks you up to equipment to monitor your heart, lung, and brain activity, breathing patterns, leg and arm movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Conducted as a full-night study or split-night study at a sleep lab, a polysomnography test can diagnosis you with OSA and help rule out other sleep disorders.
- Home Sleep Testing (HST). Depending on the circumstances, your doctor might provide you with a version of the sleep test that you can do at home. This test measures airflow, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, limb movements, and snoring intensity.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
After being diagnosed with OSA, there are several treatment methods your doctor may suggest. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, regularly exercising, and quitting cigarettes are often recommended. If these changes don’t improve your sleep, there are a few therapies your doctor can recommend. Positive airway pressure, also known as CPAP therapy, is the most common, while surgery is the most extreme option.
For those who can’t tolerate CPAP or want to avoid the bulky machines, masks, and hoses, expiratory positive airway pressure or EPAP therapy is an effective CPAP alternative. Those who want to try EPAP should consider the Bongo RX. The Bongo RX is a reusable sleep apnea nasal device that delivers convenient and effective EPAP therapy wherever you fall asleep. It is FDA-cleared to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
To learn more about the Bongo RX, obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, and other sleep apnea treatments, contact AirAvant Medical. If you suffer from mild to moderate OSA, ask your doctor about Bongo Rx today!