I Think I May Have Sleep Apnea. What Steps Should I Take?

 

photodune-5494064-young-woman-disturbed-by-the-snores-of-her-husband-xs-300x200Has a sleeping partner complained about your excessive, loud snoring. Do you feel like you’ve never gotten enough rest when the alarm goes off every morning? Are you plagued with headaches and/or a sore throat almost every morning? If so, you may have sleep apnea.

In addition to limiting your quality of life, sleep apnea is associated with a number of serious health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. People with sleep apnea may also face a higher risk of sudden death, so it’s important to get treatment if you do indeed have this condition.

Before getting treatment, however, you must get an accurate diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. In order to do so, you can undergo a sleep study, which can be completed either in your home or at a sleep clinic. The results of that sleep study will then inform the treatment plan.

After you have a definitive diagnosis of sleep apnea, you may consult with one of our oral surgeons for treatment. Patients usually attempt to address the apnea with more conservative measures, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, before surgery is considered. However, when patients cannot tolerate those interventions or when other treatments are ineffective, surgical approaches like removing excess soft tissue at the rear of the throat may eliminate the symptoms.

The positioning of the jaw can also contribute to sleep apnea by allowing the tongue to go slack and cover up the airway opening, so oral surgery for this condition may focus on the jaw in some patients. After examining you, the surgeon can make recommendations for what interventions are most appropriate in your case as well as discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with you.

If you have been experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, take the next step of getting a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. After that, you can talk to one of our oral surgeons to learn more about the treatment options that can help reduce your symptoms and protect your health.

Call any one of the Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery locations and set up your appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons.