Sleep Apnea Syndrome
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is also called sleep apnea. It is a condition where you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while you sleep. During normal sleep, your throat is kept open by muscles, which let the air pass through easily. During sleep with OSAS, the muscles and tissues around your throat relax and block air from passing through. OSAS often happens many times while you sleep. You may wake up during the night to catch your breath. You may feel tired and sleepy the next day, and you may have a hard time doing your usual activities.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- Treatment for OSAS may make your nose bleed or run. Your mouth, nose and throat may feel dry. Your stomach may feel bloated and you may burp often. The CPAP or mouth device may feel uncomfortable. If you have surgery, you may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nerves and tissues in your mouth may also get damaged during surgery. Your OSAS may come back after treatment.
- Without treatment, you continue to feel sleepy and tired. Because of this, you may have an increased risk of accidents when you drive. You may have a hard time focusing on tasks, thinking, learning, and remembering things. You may have problems with your blood sugar levels and develop diabetes. You will have an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. You may have irregular heartbeats and feel pain in your chest at night. You may have a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
You may be given the following medicines:
- Steroid spray: This is medicine that is sprayed into each of your nostrils. Steroid medicines help open your air passages so you can breathe easier. Do not stop taking this medicine without talking to your caregiver. Serious reactions can occur if you stop taking steroids suddenly.
- Stimulants: This medicine helps you stay awake during the day and feel more alert.
- 12-lead ECG: This test helps caregivers see if you have OSAS or another kind of sleep apnea. Sticky pads are placed on your chest, arms, and legs. Each sticky pad has a wire that is hooked to a machine or monitor. A short period of electrical activity in your heart muscle is recorded. Caregivers will look for problems or changes in how your heart is working. This test takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It is important that you lie as still as possible during the test.
- Endoscopy: Endoscopy is a test that uses a scope to look for problems inside of your throat. A scope is made of a long, bendable tube with a light on the end of it. A camera may be hooked to the scope to take pictures. During an endoscopy, caregivers may see if there are any problems in your throat causing your OSAS.
- Overnight oximetry: During this test, a device called a pulse oximeter will be used. The device will monitor how much oxygen is in your blood throughout the night while you sleep. A wire from the device will be attached to your ear, finger, or toe using a clip or sticky tape.
- Sleep studies: Sleep studies are also called polysomnography. Sleep studies can help caregivers see how your brain, heart, and breathing system are working during sleep. Sleep studies may monitor the stages of sleep, oxygen levels, body position, eye movement, and snoring during sleep.
- X-rays: You may need to have X-rays taken of your skull, jaw, or teeth. X-rays may show what is causing your OSAS.
You may need any of the following:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): A CPAP machine is used to keep your airway open during sleep. With CPAP you wear a mask over your nose and mouth, or just your nose. The mask is held in place by soft elastic straps that go around your head. The mask is hooked up to the CPAP machine. The machine blows a gentle stream of air into the mask when you breathe. The stream of air helps to keep your airway open so you can breathe more regularly. Extra oxygen may be given to you through the machine also.
- Mouth devices: Your caregiver may recommend that you wear a device that looks like a mouth guard or dental retainer while you sleep. This device stops your tongue and mouth tissues from blocking your throat while you sleep.
- Surgery: Your caregiver may remove extra tissues blocking your mouth, throat, or nose to treat your OSAS. You may also need surgery to help you lose weight. Ask your caregiver for more information about surgery for OSAS.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.