TMC Bonham has two sleep rooms to help diagnose and treat most sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. In many cases, an overnight sleep study is the best way to determine if you have a sleep disorder. A good study of your sleeping patterns also requires that you’re comfortable.
About 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to early morning headaches, drowsiness and impaired functioning during the day.
Many do not realize they have a serious medical problem related to the sleep issue and ignore the symptoms.
- Do you snore?
- Do you have trouble sleeping at night?
- Are you always tired or do you fall asleep without warning at inconvenient and even dangerous times?
- Do you often wake up with a headache?
If you have these symptoms or have noticed a loved one has them, we encourage you to talk with your doctor about scheduling a sleep study. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 903-640-7347.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by a number of involuntary breathing pauses or “apneic events” during a single night’s sleep—sometimes as many as 20 to 30 or more events per hour. These events are almost always accompanied by snoring between apnea episodes, although not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may also be noted by choking sensations. The frequent interruptions of deep, restorative sleep often lead to early morning headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Apnea occurs when the throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep and partially block the opening of the airway. During the apneic event, the person is unable to breathe in oxygen and to exhale carbon dioxide, resulting in low levels of oxygen and increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. The reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide alert the brain to resume breathing and cause an arousal. With each arousal, a signal is sent from the brain to the upper airway muscles to open the airway. Breathing is resumed, often with a loud snort or gasp. Frequent arousals prevent a person from getting enough restorative, deep sleep.
The Importance of Sleep Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis of sleep disorders are not simple because there can be many different causes. Primary care physicians, pulmonologists, neurologists, or other physicians with specialty training in sleep disorders, may be involved in making a definitive diagnosis and initiating treatment.
Tests available to help a physician diagnose a person for sleep apnea, include:
- Polysomnography—a test 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.
- Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)—a test that measures the speed of falling asleep. People without sleep problems usually take an average of 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep.
Individuals who fall asleep in less than five minutes are likely to require some type of treatment for sleep disorders.