Sleep Apnea FAQs
Our San Rafael dentist answers some of the most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea.
In recent years, sleep apnea has gained greater awareness among patients and healthcare providers alike. However, we know that in the face of this condition, patients and their loved ones often face a number of questions regarding diagnosis, treatment, symptoms, and more. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with the condition or suspect that your partner or family member may be showing symptoms, Dr. Buchanan is here to help. We strongly encourage you to explore some of the most common sleep apnea-related questions from our patients and contact our San Rafael team for any other queries you may have. Once you’re ready, call our office to explore your treatment options and to start the treatment process.
While your dentist may be the health professional that notices the symptoms, only a physician is licensed to diagnose sleep apnea. Typically, the process starts with a consultation with a physician who is a Sleep Medicine Specialist, they will either send you to a sleep lab for an overnight sleep study or they may offer the option of conducting a sleep study at home. Once the study is complete, the results are analyzed by a dedicated sleep specialist who will make the final diagnosis. Once this stage is complete, you’ll meet with your physician to determine the best course of treatment for your form of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea and snoring can have serious health consequences. It has been shown to be causal for high blood pressure, GERD, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heartburn, headaches, dry mouth, and is correlated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, a-fib, inability to concentrate, depression, decreased libido, irritability, irregular heartbeats and increased heart attack risk. Furthermore, the poor sleep quality caused by snoring and sleep apnea leaves patients prone to error, opening the door for serious incidents such as car crashes, machine operation, and more. Rather than risk these complications, we strongly urge any patient experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea to schedule a screening and sleep study.
Not necessarily. Not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea tend to snore loudly, gasp for air, choke or wake themselves up in the middle of the night from snoring whereas regular snoring can be the result of nasal congestion. If you notice that you or your partner exhibits other symptoms of sleep apnea, we encourage you to get screened for the condition as well.
No, it can’t. Whether your sleep apnea is the result of physical obstruction or caused by broken neural signals, it is imperative that you receive the appropriate care as soon as possible. However, there are changes patients can make to their lifestyle and habits that help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Switching to a healthier diet, regular exercise, and limiting alcohol and tobacco intake can all help reduce the risk of physical obstruction and promote heart health.