I think I may have Sleep Apnea, now what?
If you think you may have Sleep Apnea, or any form of a sleep disorder, please contact your family Doctor as soon as possible. Together you can discuss the next step at treating your symptoms. If a Sleep Study is recommended your Doctor will send a referral to a Sleep Lab.
What is a Sleep Study?
A Sleep Study is an overnight stay at a diagnostic Sleep Lab to evaluate how your body functions during sleep. It is used to determine the type and severity of multiple sleep disorders. During this overnight study you will be monitored by various sensors to measure the activities in your brain, heart, lungs and certain muscles while you sleep. If it is determined that you have Sleep Apnea you will receive a prescription from your Sleep Physician with the recommended treatment. Sleep Studies are covered by OHIP with a valid health card and a referral from a Doctor.
Treatment using CPAP Therapy:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for OSA. CPAP Therapy is a bedside treatment that delivers a continuous airflow through a mask to keep your airway open. This helps prevent apneas from occurring while you sleep.
CPAP – Benefits
CPAP can prevent or reverse serious consequences of obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment can help protect you from these serious health risks. Using CPAP to treat your sleep apnea can improve your life and make each day better.
By treating your sleep apnea, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Sleep apnea is linked to a variety of heart problems because it causes you to stop breathing many times each night. These breathing pauses cause changes in your blood pressure and can reduce your blood oxygen levels. This puts an enormous strain on your heart.
People with untreated sleep apnea have a higher rate of death from heart disease than those without sleep apnea or with treated sleep apnea. Using CPAP therapy over an extended period of time can protect you from heart problems and reduce your chance of dying from them. These heart problems include:
- Congestive heart failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Irregular heartbeat
If you have sleep apnea, consistent CPAP use can reduce your risk of stroke, one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability. A stroke is a sudden loss in brain function. It occurs when there is a blockage or rupture in one of the blood vessels leading to the brain. People with untreated sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to have a stroke.
Using CPAP to treat your sleep apnea can improve insulin sensitivity. Sleep apnea is related to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, both factors in type 2 diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
CPAP can help you become a safer driver by reducing your daytime sleepiness. Untreated sleep apnea makes you more likely to be involved in a deadly crash. Many people with sleep apnea have a hard time staying awake and concentrating while driving.
Sleepiness and daytime fatigue are common symptoms of sleep apnea. CPAP can restore your normal sleep pattern and increase your total sleep time by eliminating breathing pauses in your sleep. This will help you wake up feeling more refreshed and boost your energy throughout the day.
Untreated, severe sleep apnea can damage your brain tissue. As a result you may have trouble concentrating. You also may suffer from memory loss. Using CPAP may improve your ability to think, concentrate and make decisions. This also can improve your productivity and decrease your chance of making a costly mistake at work.
Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of depression. CPAP can help improve your mood, reduce your risk of depression and improve your overall quality of life.
By keeping your airway open as you sleep, CPAP reduces or eliminates the sound of your snoring. While you may not notice, you bed partner will benefit from a quieter sleep environment.
By improving your health, CPAP therapy can reduce your medical expenses. Sleep apnea can lead to more health problems and more doctors’ visits. Treatment for serious health risks linked to sleep apnea such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes can be costly. Medical expenses will decrease when you use CPAP to treat your sleep apnea
Living with OSA:
It is important to continue to use the therapy that you have been prescribed to treat OSA. It is highly recommended to use your CPAP machine every time you are asleep, including naps. Sleep Apnea will return in nights that the therapy is not being used. Consider lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol, losing weight (if needed) and good bed time habits. CPAP therapy is definitely an adjustment and will take some getting used to. Please be patient while you are adjusting to therapy and call us if you have any issues!
If your symptoms return:
If any signs or symptoms of sleep apnea return after you start using CPAP therapy please contact your Sleep Physician. You are eligible to go for a Sleep Study every 2 years covered by OHIP. Any change in weight and/or medical history could cause the return of symptoms as a change in pressure or therapy may be needed.