So, You’ve Just Been Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea — What Next?

June 10, 2024
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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with some serious health risks, so you might feel a bit disheartened if you have recently been diagnosed with it. However, there is reason for optimism! OSA is highly treatable, and most patients are able to achieve more restful nights and improved overall wellness. What can you expect after you receive your diagnosis? Here is an overview of the steps you can take to manage your condition:

Explore Your Treatment Options

After you undergo a sleep test and receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, your medical team will help you understand how severe your condition is and how you can improve the quality of your sleep via treatment. Many physicians advocate CPAP therapy, which uses a machine to promote uninterrupted breathing via the use of pressurized air.

CPAP therapy is effective. However, it has some significant downsides. For example, many patients find it uncomfortable and difficult to comply with. Do not be afraid to ask if you are a candidate for alternative therapies! For example, many patients find great success with a custom oral appliance from a sleep dentist. The purpose of the appliance is to slightly shift the lower jaw in a way that keeps the airway open and facilitates healthy breathing.

Be Proactive About Managing Your Health

Professional OSA treatment is important. However, there may also be some things you can do on your own to reduce the severity of your symptoms. For example:

  • You might need to lose weight. Excess fatty tissue, particularly around the abdomen and neck, is associated with an increased risk of breathing problems during sleep.
  • You could change your sleeping position. Sleeping on your side or at a slight incline may encourage better breathing.
  • Staying active can be helpful. Some research indicates that regular physical activity, even without weight loss, can be very beneficial for sleep quality.
  • You might need to cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Consuming these substances too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality.

Monitor Your Sleep

As you use your professional treatment and do your best to manage your overall health, try to monitor the quality of your sleep. Talk to your care provider if you have problems with your oral appliance or CPAP. If you do not notice significant improvements within a few weeks or months, you might need to reevaluate the details of your treatment plan.

After some time, you may need to undergo a second sleep test so your medical team can understand how well your treatment is working.

A sleep apnea diagnosis is cause for concern, but it is no reason for despair. With proper care, you may soon be on your way to better sleep and improved health.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is an experienced dentist who specializes in providing oral appliance therapy for individuals with OSA. If you have recently been diagnosed with this condition, or you are struggling to comply with CPAP therapy, he and our team would be pleased to assist you. Contact any of our locations or call our Vero Beach office at 772-882-6800.