If you suspect that you might have a sleep disorder, it’s time to get a diagnosis and begin your sleep disorder treatment.
What is Involved with Diagnosing Sleep Apnea?
There are many different reasons for disturbed sleep. Begin by talking with your primary care physician about your symptoms. Often a team of doctors are involved in determining sleep disorders, including pulmonologists, neurologists, or other physicians with specific sleep training. Several tests are available for diagnosing sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
Polysomnography (often referred to as a sleep study) is a test used in diagnosing sleep apnea that records a variety of body functions during sleep, such as the electrical activity of the brain, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels. These tests are used both in diagnosing sleep apnea and to determine its severity.
The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) measures the speed of falling asleep. The MSLT is useful in measuring the degree of excessive daytime sleepiness and can rule out other types of sleep disorders. In this test, patients are given several opportunities to fall asleep during the course of a day when they would normally be awake. People without sleep problems usually take an average of 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. Individuals who fall asleep in less than 5 minutes are likely to require some treatment for sleep disorders.
Diagnostic tests for sleep disorders usually are performed in a sleep center, but new technology may allow some sleep studies to be conducted in a doctor’s office or the patient’s home.
Dr. Hovden’s San Francisco area office in Daly City has the benefit of Pharyngometry Technology on site. Sound waves are used to measure the interior spaces of the mouth and throat. This information is valuable in diagnosing the source of your problem, and providing the best sleep disorder treatment.
Sleep Disorder Treatment
Behavioral Therapy — Several behaviors can cause sleep disorders. Using alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills increase the likelihood that the airway will collapse during sleep. Being overweight can also negatively impact a collapsing airway. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce apnea episodes while sleeping. In some patients with mild sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. Using pillows or other devices can help encourage a side sleeping position and can prove to be an effective sleep disorder and snoring treatment.
Surgery — Although several surgical procedures are used to treat sleep disorders by increasing the size of the airway, many of these procedures pose risks and vary in success. More than one procedure may need to be tried before the patient realizes any benefits from a surgical sleep disorder treatment.
Mechanical Therapy — Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. This method uses a CPAP machine, often called a sleep apnea machine. The patient wears a mask over the nose during sleep, and pressure from an air blower forces air through the nasal passages. The pressure is constant and continuous. While it can be effective as sleep disorder treatment, CPAP is difficult for many patients to tolerate, due to nasal irritation and drying, facial skin irritation, abdominal bloating, sore eyes and headaches.
Dental Appliances — Oral appliances can be another alternative sleep disorder and snoring treatment. The dental appliances fit over the teeth and hold the lower jaw and tongue in a position to maximize air flow. A highly trained dentist such as Dr. Ken Hovden in San Francisco can evaluate if you are a good candidate for sleep disorder treatment with a dental appliance.
Dr. Ken Hovden Diagnoses and Treats Sleep Disorders in San Francisco
Daly City dentist Dr. Kenneth Hovden DDS is highly skilled in sleep disorder and snoring treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy. Contact our office in Daly City today for a free consultation. Call us at the number above or send the simple form on right of the page if you are in the South San Francisco – Pacifica area, and we will contact you.
If you would like more information about Dr. Hovden’s general dentistry services, head over to our main site.