Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects 9% of women and 24% of men, according to some research. The exceptional doctors at SLENT offer comprehensive care for sleep apnea, including home sleep studies for diagnosis, and CPAP to effectively relieve apnea and lower your risk for complications such as high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. To schedule a sleep apnea evaluation, call one of the offices in Slidell, Hammond, Metairie, and Mandeville, Louisiana, or use the online booking feature.
CPAP is one of three types of positive airway pressure and the most common treatment used for obstructive sleep apnea. When you use CPAP therapy, you’ll wear a mask over your nose or your nose and mouth. A tube connects the mask to the CPAP machine, which sends continuous airflow through the mask and into your airway.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing while you sleep. In mild cases of sleep apnea, you stop breathing 5-15 times every hour. If your apnea is severe, you stop breathing 30 or more times per hour.
When you sleep, the soft tissues in your mouth and throat relax. As a result, these tissues, including your tongue, move toward the open airway at the back of your throat. You start to snore when your tongue partially covers the airway.
When airflow is completely blocked, you have an apnea episode where you stop breathing, and your levels of oxygen rapidly drop. The sudden loss of oxygen alerts your brain, which in turn wakes you enough to make you breathe again.
When you use CPAP, the flow of air from the CPAP machine creates positive pressure in your airway. The pressure is adjusted so that it’s the exact amount you need to hold your airway open while you sleep.
The first step is to determine if you have sleep apnea. While its symptoms — loud snoring, fatigue during the day, waking up gasping for air, and morning headaches — are excellent indicators that you have sleep apnea, the only way to diagnose this condition is with a sleep study.
The doctors at SLENT offer home sleep testing. They provide the equipment and show you how to use it in the comfort of your own home.
Using minimal equipment, such as a finger sensor, chest band, and nasal cannula, your home sleep study measures your pulse, blood oxygen levels, airflow, and respiratory effort. The information is sent to a portable device, then your doctor at SLENT downloads and evaluates the data to determine if you have sleep apnea.
You’ll get the best results from your home sleep study if you follow your usual routine and avoid drinking alcohol the evening of your test. You’re more likely to have sleep apnea after drinking, making your results unreliable.
If your partner or a housemate comment on your loud snoring, take them seriously, because it’s the top sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Call one of the SLENT offices to schedule a sleep apnea evaluation or book an appointment online.