What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing pauses during sleep due to a blocked airway or because your brain is not sending the correct signals to the body to breathe. This pause, which is often signaled with a snort or a choking sound, disrupts the flow of oxygen to your heart, brain, and body. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can take years off your life.
Sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart failure, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular disorders. Untreated sleep apnea may also increase your risk for stroke, diabetes, and depression. Additionally, sleep apnea sufferers are more likely to experience car crashes and work accidents. Therefore, it’s vital to seek help if you believe you have sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Daytime fatigue
- Loud/frequent snoring
- Silent pauses in breathing
- Choking or gasping sounds
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Waking with dry mouth/sore throat
How Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Works
If you believe you may have sleep apnea, it’s important to take action. One of the easiest ways to assess your risk of this sleep disorder is to take the STOPBANG sleep apnea test. This short, eight question quiz only takes 1-2 minutes and is an effective tool to determine if you’re eligible for a home sleep apnea test.
After you take the STOPBANG test, if your score indicates that you could benefit from taking a home sleep test, we provide advanced, convenient sleep apnea testing in the comfort of your own home. After you take your home sleep test, our board-certified sleep doctor will analyze your results to determine if you have sleep apnea. If medically appropriate, your Low T Center provider will work with you to find a customized treatment plan that works with your lifestyle.
How Treatment Works for Sleep Apnea
Your path to better rest only takes four steps:
- Sleep Apnea Test
If you believe you have sleep apnea, we will provide you with a home sleep test to gather information about how you sleep. We also gather all relevant data about you, including your answers to the STOPBANG sleep test and your answers to our Quality of Sleep and Energy Level questions in our health questionnaire during your comprehensive health assessment. At visit one, we will also check your vitals and draw your blood for a complete lab panel so, on visit two, your medical provider will have all your diagnostic data ready to share with you before making a diagnosis and recommending a personalized treatment plan.
- Personalized Plan
Depending on what your sleep study reveals, your sleep apnea treatment plan may involve lifestyle changes (smoking cessation or weight loss), or a breathing device such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. If your sleep apnea treatment requires a CPAP device, Low T Center’s Head of Sleep Medicine, a physician board-certified in sleep medicine, calibrates your CPAP machine and oversees your sleep apnea treatment regimen along with your local Low T Center medical provider. Our medical team will help you select a mask that is right for you, given your sleeping and breathing habits (mouth or nose). We will fit you with a mask and give you time to lay down and try out the fit in one of our private treatment rooms. The single most important step to successful CPAP therapy is a comfortable mask! In addition, if your lab panel indicates you are dealing with other health issues, our medical provider will include recommendations and a plan for how to treat those conditions as well.
- Treatment Regimen
Your treatment regimen is based on your personalized plan. If you use CPAP therapy, your sleep data transmits directly to your Low T Center medical chart through a proprietary interface, which enables your provider to monitor and adjust your device to help you achieve optimum results.
- Optimization and Prevention
Once your regimen is underway to address sleep apnea (or other underlying conditions), your provider will optimize treatment to maximize your health and wellness.
Potential Side Effects of Sleep Apnea Treatment
Just as each patient’s experience with sleeping difficulties is unique, so is his experience with CPAP. Success depends on working with your medical provider to find and maintain the right device adjustment for you. Your medical provider will discuss potential side effects and contraindications based on your physiology and treatment experience.
Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment with Low T Sleep Center
Sleep apnea treatment can lower your risk of having a cardiac event – a heart attack or a stroke – as those suffering from sleep apnea have been linked to a higher incidence of both. Treatment can also lower your risk of having hypertension, type 2 diabetes, erectile disfunction, and being obese. Helping you regain normal breathing during sleep leads to better-quality rest, improved clarity and concentration, increased libido, and fewer headaches.
Because Low T Sleep Center takes a holistic approach to men’s healthcare, our medical professionals proactively address other conditions you’re currently experiencing or could experience later on. These conditions may also affect sleep apnea.
Our providers get to know you on a personal level and gather important health data often to assess progress with greater efficiency.
At Low T Sleep Center, we focus on treating your sleep apnea symptoms so you can feel better — and get the rest you need
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
When you choose Low T Sleep Center for your sleep apnea treatment, you get a sleep specialist who understands that many factors can cause sleep apnea. As a holistic health care center, it’s important to us that we find the root cause of your symptoms. We use a combination of symptom treatment and lifestyle changes to treat your sleep apnea while also attacking the cause.
Some of the most common sleep apnea treatments we use include:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device: CPAP works to create pressure in your upper airway, preventing your throat from closing during sleep. When your throat collapses during sleep, your breathing temporarily stops. While a CPAP device may feel awkward at first, most users report that they are sleeping completely comfortably within a few weeks. The long-term benefits of CPAP therapy for sleep apnea include lower risk of having cardiac disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and erectile dysfunction. Additionally, CPAP devices offer the advantage of feeling rested, and having more energy and mental clarity. Therefore, the benefits of CPAP therapy far outweigh the short adjustment period it may take you to get used to the treatment.
- Positional Therapy: Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. In some cases, you may experience sleep apnea primarily when you sleep on your back, which is known as positional sleep apnea. For those with positional sleep apnea, positional therapy may help you breathe normally by encouraging you to sleep on your side or abdomen. Positional therapy may involve a wearing a device around your waist or back that prevents you from turning onto your back as you sleep. Another option is a small device you wear on the back of your neck that gently vibrates when you begin to sleep on your back. This vibration alerts you to change sleeping positions without waking you up so that you can minimize the pressure on your airway. Many people benefit from positional therapy for sleep apnea, whether used alone or together with other sleep apnea treatments.
- Lifestyle Changes: You may be able to help obstructive sleep apnea with improved self- care.
- Lose excess weight. Even a slight weight loss might help relieve constriction of your throat. In some cases, sleep apnea can resolve if you return to a healthy weight, but it can recur if you regain the weight.
- Regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea even without weight loss. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week.
- Avoid alcohol and certain medications such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, interfering with breathing.
- Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, look for resources to help you quit.
How CPAP Works at Low T Sleep Center
While a CPAP device may look complicated at first glance, it’s anything but. You simply wear the mask as you prepare to fall asleep. The device works to create continuous pressure in your throat to make it stay open as you sleep. This prevents sleep apnea events from occurring, which creates a more restful sleeping experience.
A key step is making sure that your CPAP mask creates a tight seal over your mouth and nose. At Low T Sleep Center, we take the time with you in our center to allow you to try on various mask types, so you can find the one that is the best for you and your sleeping style. We even give you time to lie down with the mask on in your usual sleeping position to get a feel for the fit. It’s critical that you are comfortable with the mask and device, as we understand that if you’re not comfortable, you won’t want to use your device. This can lead to poor results for your sleep apnea treatment.
Low T Sleep Center has a full-time sleep technologist that is available by phone during each business day to answer your questions and assist you with the CPAP device or mask to help you achieve your highest results. At Low T Sleep Center, we provide CPAP devices that include a humidifier, which helps prevent your mouth and nose from drying out over time. We also provide CPAP devices with heated hoses, so condensation doesn’t build in the hose. We believe in providing only the best equipment and are committed to helping you be comfortable with your CPAP so you can get the rest you need, and you can be as healthy as possible.
Achieving optimal results requires some proper care of the equipment and a regular replacement schedule of mask, hose and filters. Your Low T Sleep Center sleep team will review the recommended cleaning schedule with you during your mask fitting and device setup. At the Low T Sleep Center, we also offer you the option to order CPAP re-supplies for convenient delivery to your door.
Find A Sleep Doctor Near You
If you’re ready to take the next step in treating your sleep apnea, it’s time to contact your Low T Sleep Center. At Low T Sleep Center, you’ll find caring, experienced providers, who are available at times and locations that are convenient for your schedule. Don’t risk your health and waste another night on bad sleep- call your nearest Low T Sleep Center today to schedule an appointment.