Sleep Apnea Testing & Sleep Apnea Treatment

Overview of Sleep Apnea Testing & Sleep Apnea Treatment

The Providence Clinic is a regional sleep clinic leader for all sleep apnea testing and sleep apnea treatment services. We have a sleep apnea doctor available for quality treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep-related problems in Morristown, Hamblen County, and the surrounding areas of East Tennessee. If sleep apnea is impacting you or a loved one's quality of life or sleep, don't hesitate to give our sleep apnea clinic a call for sleep apnea testing, quality care, and helpful sleep apnea treatments by a skilled sleep apnea doctor.

We want our patients to make informed and educated decisions about sleep apnea problems, as well as understanding more about sleep apnea testing and sleep apnea treatments. We offer a friendly sleep apnea doctor to help understand the issues and prepare a treatment plan. Many sleep apnea testing and treatment procedures can be performed by our sleep apnea doctor in our state-of-the-art sleep clinic in Morristown, TN.

Call us at (423) 587-1987 (or contact us online) to feel better faster and schedule your appointment with a sleep apnea doctor.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic type of sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing pauses, some of which can last many seconds or a few minutes, typically interrupted by a snorting or choking sound. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep apnea breathing pauses can occur as often as 30 or more times per hour.

The shallow breaths or breathing pauses that occur with sleep apnea result in less time in "deep sleep" and a poorer quality of sleep overall. Often, a bed partner will be the first to be alerted to possible sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea may increase the risk of other health problems as well, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart diseases or heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Stroke

Obstructive sleep apnea, where blockage in or collapse of the airway occurs during sleep, is the most common type of sleep apnea. Those who are overweight are more prone to obstructive sleep apnea, but anyone—including children—can develop this form of sleep apnea.

Another type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea, but this form of sleep apnea is much less common. With central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send signals to the body to breathe properly. Snoring is not usually associated with central sleep apnea, and it is more common among those with medical conditions or who take certain medications.

Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are usually more obvious than other illnesses, especially if the affected individual shares a bed with a sleeping partner, however, they may "hide in plain sight". The sleep disorder is problematic due to the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea often going unnoticed at night and dismissed as normal sleepiness during the day. In addition, routine medical tests and doctor visits are unlikely to spot sleep apnea unless specifically mentioned. Here are some common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Attention issues
  • Breathing pauses (usually observed by bed partner or family member)
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headache (usually in the morning)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Shortness of breath after an abrupt awakening during sleep
  • Snoring
  • Sore throat

Many of these signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are common occurrences and may be dismissed as a normal behavior. This can make it difficult for one to identify the causes for sleep apnea, and even more difficult to determine when to see a sleep apnea doctor. Here are some suggestions for when one should see a sleep apnea doctor:

  • When breathing pauses occur during sleep 
  • When sleepiness during the day becomes excessive
  • When snoring is loud enough to interrupt the sleep of the affected individual or others
  • When waking up from choking, gasping, or being short-of-breath

While snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, it's not the only symptom associated with the sleep disorder—and snoring doesn't usually cause alarm in most people. In addition, snoring isn't apparent in central sleep apnea, which can be dangerous for those looking for snoring to signal an issue. Contact our sleep clinic in Morristown, TN at any sign of a sleep problem, and a sleep apnea doctor can help diagnose the issue.

Sleep Apnea Testing

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and many people who have it may not be aware, as symptoms may not be present during the daytime—especially during routine doctor visits—and common tests (like a blood test) would not identify the issue. When trying to determine whether a patient has sleep apnea, our sleep apnea doctor will set up sleep apnea testing. There are two types of sleep apnea testing we use in our sleep clinic in Hamblen County, Tennessee: An in-lab overnight sleep study and a home sleep apnea test.

In an in-lab overnight sleep study, a patient stays at the sleep clinic in a room similar to a standard hotel. Sensors are used to monitor sleep patterns and activity, such as brain waves, breathing, and heartbeats throughout the night. This type of sleep apnea testing yields more thorough and detailed results than an at home test. It is usually more expensive and used for more complex cases (though insurance coverage typically includes this type of testing).

At-home sleep apnea testing may be recommended by a sleep apnea doctor if many symptoms of sleep apnea are present in a patient, but they are otherwise fairly healthy. This form of sleep apnea testing is simpler, as the staff at a sleep clinic will instruct a patient on how to use a portable sleep monitoring machine at home.

After reviewing all the results of sleep apnea testing, our sleep apnea doctor will make a sleep apnea diagnosis. This diagnosis is shared at a new appointment, which is also the time that a sleep apnea treatment plan will be established. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Because sleep apnea is a chronic condition, any successful sleep apnea treatment prescribed by a sleep apnea doctor will likely require long-term management of the disorder. Sleep apnea treatment is likely to require lifestyle changes, which may include:

  • Avoiding medicines that cause drowsiness
  • Nasal sprays
  • Quitting smoking
  • Refraining from alcohol
  • Side-sleeping instead of back-sleeping
  • Weight loss

Common sleep apnea treatments include:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
  • Other breathing pressure devices (like a Bi-PAP machine)
  • Sleeping mouthpiece or oral device
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Surgery
  • Treatment of related medical conditions (such as heart or neuromuscular disorders)

This is not a comprehensive list of sleep apnea treatments. There may be a combination of therapies and/or surgery that is the best sleep apnea treatment for an individual. Make an appointment with a sleep apnea doctor at our Morristown, Tennessee sleep center for more information on what sleep apnea treatment is recommended.

Sleep Apnea Surgery

For some individuals for whom a typical sleep apnea treatment therapy (such as a CPAP machine or other device) does not provide satisfactory results, sleep apnea surgery may be an option. Typically, at least a three-month trial of non-surgical sleep apnea treatments is recommended prior to considering a sleep apnea surgery. The goal of most sleep apnea surgeries is to widen the breathing passageways, which target those with obstructive sleep apnea. Some common sleep apnea surgery procedures include: 

  • Maxillo-mandibular advancement
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Tracheostomy
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (this is the most common)

A sleep apnea doctor should be able to provide more information about sleep apnea surgery, including expectations and requirements. A sleep study will most likely occur prior to a doctor considering surgery as a sleep apnea treatment option. Ask a sleep apnea doctor at The Providence Clinic for more information on how a sleep apnea surgery may be beneficial.

Sleep Apnea Clinic & Sleep Apnea Doctors

Sleep apnea problems may be improved with proper sleep apnea testing and sleep apnea treatment plans by an expert sleep apnea doctor or sleep clinic. Because of the consistent impact sleep apnea can have on a person's life, it is important to talk with a sleep apnea doctor about any sleep apnea symptoms or sleep problems as soon as possible.

For trustworthy and quality sleep apnea testing and sleep apnea treatment services in Morristown, Hamblen County, and the East Tennessee area, contact us at The Providence Clinic—(423)-587-1987 or contact us online. Our sleep apnea doctor can help provide fantastic care and helpful treatment plans for solving all sleep-related issues.