Is Your Chronic Snoring a Sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea? We Can Help You Find Out
Millions of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a chronic condition that causes your sleep to be interrupted dozens of times a night. The problem: Those interruptions are so brief, you could have OSA and not even know it. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 90% of obstructive sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed.
Chronic snoring is a major symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, but just because you snore, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have OSA: Snoring has other causes, too. How can you tell if the two are related? By having a sleep study.
With locations in Germantown, Maryland, and Alexandria and Woodbridge, Virginia, Medical Access offers sleep studies aimed at identifying obstructive sleep apnea, so it can be treated. Here’s how sleep studies work and how they can determine if your snoring might be related to OSA.
Snoring and OSA
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the tissues at the back of your throat descend into your airway, interrupting your breathing. These brief interruptions can happen hundreds of times a night, resulting in poor quality sleep.
Because these pauses are so quick, they usually don’t fully wake you up. Knowing the daytime symptoms of OSA can help you decide if you might need a sleep study. These symptoms include:
- Gasping for breath during sleep
- Problems staying asleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Morning headaches
- Irritability or moodiness
- Problems with focus and concentration
Of course, if you have a sleep partner, they can also let you know if you snore or gasp for air during sleep. (In fact, if you snore, they’ve probably told you so already.)
OSA isn’t only about poor quality sleep — it’s about the complications that can occur when your sleep is interrupted on a regular basis. Your body needs regular, quality sleep to function normally and stay healthy.
OSA prevents you from getting quality sleep, and as a result, it’s associated with some pretty serious complications, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Heart attacks
- Liver problems
- Vision issues
Aside from interfering with your work and other activities, daytime sleepiness can increase your risk of serious accidents. Moodiness and irritability can take a toll on your personal and work relationships, too.
How sleep studies work
Just like the name implies, sleep studies take place while you sleep. During the study, our team measures your brain activity, your heart rate, and your respiratory activity, looking for abnormalities associated with obstructive sleep apnea (or other sleep disorders). Sleep studies typically are recommended once our team rules out other possible causes of snoring, like allergies, nasal blockages, or enlarged tonsils.
For your study, you’ll sleep in a comfortable room on site. Before you turn in for your night’s rest, we’ll place electrodes on your skin and scalp and use a breathing monitor to evaluate respiration. These devices measure airflow, blood oxygen levels, brain waves, body movements, heart rate, wakefulness, and sleep stages, and they do it all noninvasively and painlessly.
You’ll be continuously monitored during the entire night. After your study, we’ll use the data we’ve gathered to determine if you have OSA or any other sleep disorders. Then, our team can create a custom treatment plan to improve your sleep and your health.
Find out if you have OSA
Snoring isn’t always associated with OSA, but because it’s a common symptom, it should always be evaluated. If our team thinks OSA might be to blame, a sleep study can provide the information we need to prescribe treatment.