More than 20 million Americans experience breathing interruptions during sleep, according to the American Sleep Apnea Foundation. The most common form of this condition is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can affect anyone of any age – although it’s more likely to be seen in individuals 40 and over or those with excess weight. If you are living with breathing interruptions or related problems like loud snoring, you may benefit from a visit to a sleep apnea clinic in Mission Viejo.

Why See Sleep Apnea Specialists?

It’s not always easy to tell which type of sleep apnea you have or even just how severe your symptoms might be. At a sleep apnea clinic in Mission Viejo, specialized tests can be performed to determine if you have OSA or other forms of this condition that could include central sleep apnea (CSA), which is related to problems with brain signals, or complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is a combination of OSA and CSA. It’s also a good idea to visit a sleep apnea clinic if you are experiencing dry mouth or any of the following issues that could be related to sleep apnea:

  • Daytime drowsiness or insomnia
  • Repeated instances of gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Increased irritability or an inability to pay attention when awake
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What Can You Expect During a Visit?

A thorough exam performed at a sleep apnea clinic in Mission Viejo typically involves discussing your symptoms and medical history. You may also be asked if you have a family history of sleep apnea or if you regularly use sedatives or tranquilizers since these substances can relax muscles in your throat and worsen sleep apnea symptoms. Related issues with nasal congestion and allergies are taken into consideration as well. Specialized tests performed at a sleep clinic may include:

  • A visual examination of your throat and nasal passages to check for anything that might be abnormal
  • Overnight monitoring of your breathing patterns and body movements (nocturnal polysomnography)
  • Home testing that measures breathing patterns and similar functions

What Treatments Could Be Recommended?

If your symptoms are mild, specialists at a sleep apnea clinic in Mission Viejo may suggest losing weight and other lifestyle changes or better management of allergies or nasal congestion. The most common therapy recommended for sleep apnea involves the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. It’s a mask-like device that provides added air pressure as you sleep so you don’t have breathing interruptions. If you’re not comfortable with wearing a mask as you sleep, oral appliances are another option. Surgical solutions that might be suggested include:

  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Tissue shrinkage
  • Repositioning of your jaw
  • Soft palate implants
  • Nerve stimulation

Sleep apnea isn’t always entirely “curable,” but it can still be manageable with a combination of lifestyle adjustments and the other treatment possibilities discussed above. The good news is that specialists you’ll work with at a sleep apnea clinic in Mission Viejo can help you explore all available treatment and symptom management options available to you. This will allow you to make well-informed decisions about what’s best for your situation.