Dr. James Stewart offers treatment for sleep apnea and chronic snoring at his dental practice in Livonia, MI. Today he answers a common question regarding obstructive sleep apnea.
Dear Dr. Stewart: So even though I seem to get plenty of sleep, I always feel really tired during the day. A friend said his dad has the same problem and it’s because of sleep apnea. How do I know if this is what’s going on with me?
Dr. Stewart: How do you know if your sudden daytime exhaustion is sleep apnea? First, let’s look at a few other symptoms. Does your partner complain about your snoring? Do you ever wake up suddenly during the night, unable to breathe or choking?
Sleep apnea occurs when airflow is blocked by collapsed soft tissue in the throat. When this happens, you stop breathing, your brain realizes it, and wakes you up to reinstate normal breathing patterns and airflow. You may not remember waking up, although it happens many times each night for sleep apnea sufferers.
To be sure if sleep apnea is the issue, you need a diagnosis from a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine. At that point you can discuss treatment, which may include wearing an oral appliance, using a CPAP, surgery, or making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight.
I would talk to someone soon. Losing sleep not only makes life miserable, but can also have a major negative impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Sleep apnea can possibly be a life-threatening condition.
If you have questions about your sleep difficulties, contact Dr. Stewart’s Sleep Better Michigan practice by calling (734) 425-4400 or visit sleepbettermichigan.com.