Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) could be to blame if you think you’re getting a full night’s rest but still feel lethargic every morning.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that disrupts breathing during sleep. Pauses in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, and they occur repeatedly. The fragmented sleep makes it next to impossible to get a good night’s rest.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Aside from morning lethargy, OSA can cause several other symptoms.
One of the most common signs is loud, habitual snoring and many people with the disorder snort and gasp after every breathing pause. Some other potential OSA symptoms include:
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings or personality changes
- Feeling irritable or depressed
- Falling asleep at work, on the phone or while driving
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA often goes undiagnosed, as there’s no blood test or imaging exam that can identify the disorder. So how do doctors and oral surgeons determine whether someone actually has the condition?
An OSA diagnosis is based, in part, on the results of a physical exam and thorough medical history. Patients are also asked to keep a sleep diary in advance of their appointment, tracking their sleeping times and how well-rested they feel each day.
When OSA is suspected, a sleep study is the next step in diagnosis. Patients spend the night sleeping at a lab, while sensors monitor breathing pauses and snoring. The results of the sleep study can confirm the OSA diagnosis.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When OSA is diagnosed, the doctor or oral surgeon will explain the treatment options. Lifestyle changes — such as losing weight or decreasing alcohol consumption — are often recommended.
Most OSA patients also need to use a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP machine. These machines can effectively maintain normal breathing during sleep, but since they require wearing a mask over the mouth and nose, CPAP machines can be difficult for some patients to tolerate.
In those cases, or when using a CPAP machine is causing dental problems, oral surgery may be advised. OSA surgery can permanently correct the condition and restore normal nighttime breathing.
If you wake up exhausted every day and want to know if OSA is the cause, the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can give you an answer and put you on the path to getting a better night’s rest.
With three Salt Lake City area offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — making an appointment with one of our oral surgeons couldn’t be more convenient. If morning exhaustion is a daily concern, contact us and schedule an evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea today.