You’ve just gotten a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Now what? While it may be a relief to finally get some answers regarding what’s been causing your snoring, restless nights, daytime lethargy, and maybe even depression, there are still many questions to be answered when it comes to what comes next with sleep apnea. Here are just a few common questions and answers to help you navigate your new diagnosis.
What happens next?
Now that you’ve been formally diagnosed with sleep apnea, the treatment can begin. Don’t be scared – this is a good thing. Treating your sleep apnea means you will soon get relief from the dangerous symptoms that may be affecting you while you sleep and during waking hours, too.
What are my treatment options?
Treatments for sleep apnea range from continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) to sleep orthotics which position the airway open as you sleep. While both have their pluses and minuses, sleep orthotic therapy is generally better tolerated because it doesn’t require the use of a machine, sleep mask, and forced air. Speak to your sleep therapist about your options, and if you’re ready to try a sleep orthotic, speak to Dr. Mingus.
What happens if I don’t treat my sleep apnea?
There are many dangers involved in simply ignoring your sleep apnea or choosing to not treat it. It may not seem like it, but sleep apnea can be very dangerous. Problems caused by sleep apnea include not just a poor night’s sleep, but can cause depression, weight gain, stroke, heart disease, and worsen conditions like some cancers and diabetes.
What can I do to help make my treatment more effective?
There are many steps you can take to boost the effects of your sleep apnea treatment. These include quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, eating a healthier diet, and of course adhering to your sleep apnea treatment as prescribed by your doctor.
What should I do if I suspect I have sleep apnea but haven’t been diagnosed?
First, contact your primary care physician or Dr. Mingus for a referral to a sleep specialist. Next, make an appointment for a sleep study. Many can be conducted in-home and no longer require an overnight stay at a sleep clinic. Once you have your sleep study scheduled, make sure you follow through with it and take your results seriously.
If you are interested in learning more about sleep orthotics, please contact Dr. Mingus today.