Convenient Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Successful treatment begins with precise diagnosis. The only way to diagnose sleep apnea is with a sleep test. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go to a sleep lab. You can get tested for sleep apnea in the comfort of your own bed.
We can perform a basic sleep apnea screening to see if you are at risk for sleep apnea. If you are, we can arrange for a sleep test to be sent to your home. It’s a simple test to administer. You wear a small device that monitors you during sleep. You may have to wear it multiple nights, but it’s more convenient and less expensive than a sleep test in a lab. It’s also covered by insurance, which means it might cost just a small copay depending on your insurance.
Once you take the test, you send it in and a sleep doctor evaluates your results to tell you if you have sleep apnea or not. They will also know the severity of your sleep apnea, which can help us decide on the best sleep apnea treatment for you.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
If you have sleep apnea, there are many potential treatment options. You might choose:
- Home care
- Oral appliance therapy
Often, people use more than one type of treatment to control sleep apnea.
Home Care for Sleep Apnea
Home care is not recommended as a standalone treatment for sleep apnea. The dangers of sleep apnea are too serious to rely only on home care. However, home care can be an important complement to your other sleep apnea treatment.
Common home care approaches for sleep apnea include:
- Changing sleeping position
- Reducing alcohol consumption at night
- Increasing exercise
- Losing weight
Changing your sleep position can reduce the risk that your airway will collapse at night. Sleep on your side instead of your back.
Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, and if you drink it too close to bedtime, it can contribute to muscle laxity that leads to airway collapse.
Exercise helps tone your muscles so they are less likely to let your airway collapse. A general exercise routine helps, and we can recommend more specific exercises that target airway muscles.
Obesity contributes to airway collapse. Fat deposits on the tongue and neck weigh down your airway tissues, making them harder to support.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Your jaw is the main bony support for your airway. An oral appliance repositions your jaw to hold your airway open.
This treatment option has many benefits. It’s convenient: you just put it in your mouth before going to sleep. It’s comfortable: there are no masks, straps, or hoses that touch your face or restrict your motion. Care is easy: just drop it in an approved cleaner to soak once in a while.
Plus, it’s inexpensive. Insurance covers it, and the lifetime cost to you will likely be a fraction of the cost of a CPAP machine.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is considered to be the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment. It is highly effective on all types of sleep apnea and it works even for very severe sleep apnea. CPAP works by forcing air down your throat to hold your airway open and supply your lungs with oxygen.
The biggest problem with CPAP is that it’s an unpleasant treatment. Most people find it an uncomfortable nuisance. For some, it’s worth it to care for their sleep apnea. However, less than half of people prescribed CPAP keep up with it long-term, which means that most people prescribed CPAP essentially have untreated sleep apnea.
If CPAP doesn’t work for you, it’s important to seek another sleep apnea treatment option.
Usually, sleep apnea surgery removes some of the tissue that sags to block your airway. The results of sleep apnea surgery aren’t great–most see a reduction in sleep apnea, but it’s not always a large reduction. Results are often temporary, too.
Surgery might also implant a device similar to a pacemaker, only instead of stimulating your heart, it stimulates the muscles of your airway to keep them from collapsing.
Sleep apnea surgery is risky. People with sleep apnea are at a higher risk for surgical complications. The combination of high risk and low benefit mean that sleep apnea surgery is not usually recommended.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Detroit
If you have sleep apnea and want to learn more about treatment options, sleep dentists Dr. Richard Klein and Dr. Chad Witkow, and the team at Michigan Head & Neck Institute can help. We can even help you get tested if you only suspect sleep apnea.
Please call (586) 573-0438 or email us today to request an appointment at our office in Detroit, MI.