One of the most common stories among patients involves their partners or family members informing them that they snore and snort in their sleep. This intervention is usually what spurs people into seeking a diagnosis for their sleep apnea. So, how do you recognize symptoms of sleep apnea when there’s no one around to point them out?
The providers at ENT of New Orleans, with four locations in Marrero, New Orleans, Chalmette, and Harvey, Louisiana, can help you figure out if you’re experiencing sleep apnea episodes, and if so, what to do about them.
Recognizing sleep apnea
Snoring and snorting in your sleep aren’t the only symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They might be the most obvious signs that you’re struggling to breathe, but the lack of restful sleep is the most notable symptom. Other indications you might be struggling with sleep apnea include:
- Dry mouth or sore throat after waking
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Feeling fatigued even after a long night’s rest
- Frequent nighttime awakenings
- Trouble concentrating during the day
- Mood disturbances, such as anxiety, depression, and irritability
In isolation, these symptoms might be easily overlooked. However, if you frequently experience these issues, there’s a good chance you might be suffering from sleep apnea. One way to double-check is to record yourself sleeping, or download a sleep monitoring app onto your phone. If you can hear yourself snoring, snorting, or choking in your sleep, it’s definitely time to consult with a specialist.
Treating sleep apnea
Once you’ve been diagnosed, you can begin discussing your treatment options with your doctor. A polysomnogram (PSG) or home sleep test (HST) might be used to gauge the severity of your sleep apnea, but many doctors just begin with conservative treatment and see how you respond.
A good treatment for OSA is an oral appliance, which you wear in your mouth while you sleep. The appliance keeps your airway open, preventing sleep apnea episodes. These devices need to be fitted specifically for your jaw and mouth. Consult with your doctor about whether it’s the right choice for you.
If your sleep apnea is too severe for an oral appliance, we may recommend a CPAP machine to help you sleep. These work by creating continuous positive airway pressure, hence the name. While these devices can take some getting used to, they’re considered the most effective and reliable sleep apnea treatment.
Suspect that you might have sleep apnea? You can schedule a consultation by calling the location closest to you, or request an appointment online.