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Can You Have Sleep Apnea Without Snoring?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with several common symptoms, one of which is snoring. However, it’s possible to suffer from sleep apnea without snoring being one of your symptoms. In this blog post, we’ll dive more into sleep apnea, its symptoms, and how it is typically diagnosed. Read on to learn more, or click below to book an appointment with Circle Medical if you think you may have sleep apnea.

A Brief Introduction

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. These breathing patterns can often cause the individual to snore, although this isn’t always a symptom for everyone suffering from sleep apnea. To better understand what sleep apnea consists of, let’s take a quick look at the different types of sleep apnea.

Understanding Sleep Apnea and Its Types

When an individual has sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of the throat don’t always keep the airway open when they’re sleeping. This can make it difficult to breathe normally and can lead to further health complications if left untreated. There are two main types of sleep apnea to be aware of, and these include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. When sleeping, the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax and obstruct the airway. This causes breathing difficulties and the various symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • Central Sleep Apnea - Central sleep apnea is less common. It happens when the individual’s brain fails to send signals to the muscles in the airway, causing breathing issues associated with sleep apnea.

It’s also worth noting that some patients, though rare, have complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of the above two types. Understanding what type of sleep apnea you have is crucial for getting the best treatment. That’s why it’s important to get diagnosed by a medical professional so you can properly treat your sleep apnea.

Now that we better understand the different types of sleep apnea, let’s dive into some of the most common symptoms.

What Are the Common Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring - Loud and frequent snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Snoring is caused by the narrowing of the airway, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
  • Daytime sleepiness - Excessive daytime sleepiness is another common symptom of sleep apnea. It can happen when an individual is not getting enough quality sleep at night due to breathing difficulties.
  • Morning headaches - People with sleep apnea may experience headaches in the morning due to a lack of oxygen while sleeping.
  • Poor concentration - Sleep apnea can affect a person's ability to concentrate and focus during the day.
  • Dry mouth - Snoring all night and not getting enough oxygen may cause you to wake with a dry mouth.
  • Sexual dysfunction or decreased libido - Lack of quality sleep can sometimes affect sexual performance and libido.
  • Frequent waking at night - Sleep apnea can cause a person to wake up frequently during the night, gasping for air or feeling like they're choking.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to get properly diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea.

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Loud and disruptive snoring is often the first symptom people think of when it comes to sleep apnea. It’s a fair assumption, and snoring is often a telltale signifier someone has sleep apnea, especially if the snoring is very loud. However, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, especially if they have central sleep apnea. 

Snoring happens when your soft tissues relax, and your airways are obstructed, causing a vibrating sound when you breathe in and out. In some cases, the obstruction is more severe and leads to breathing obstructions, causing sleep apnea.

However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea snores. It’s important to watch out for other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, headaches, frequent waking, and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider who can properly diagnose the condition and provide treatment options. 

In the next section, we'll discuss how sleep apnea is diagnosed through at-home sleep studies.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea: At-Home Sleep Studies

The most effective way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study. Traditionally, sleep studies needed to be conducted at a sleep center where you would be hooked up to various monitoring instruments and spend the night to get a diagnosis. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where you can do a sleep study from the comfort of your own bed.

To conduct an at-home sleep study, you will need to connect to a healthcare provider that can send you a sleep-monitoring device. This small device can record your breathing patterns, oxygen levels, heart rate, and other metrics while you sleep. This small non-intrusive device will give your provider the information they need to determine if you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

Your primary care provider can provide you with detailed instructions on how to use the device. Make sure to follow these instructions to ensure the most accurate test possible. It’s worth noting that at-home tests may not always be comprehensive enough and that your provider may suggest an in-person sleep study if they need additional information for an accurate diagnosis.

After sleeping with your at-home sleep study device, your primary care provider will send the information to be analyzed by a sleep specialist. From there, you can get a diagnosis, and your primary care provider can begin developing the appropriate treatment plan to address your sleep disorder.

Treatment Options

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health condition that affects many young adults. It is If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will discuss various treatment options with you. These treatments are aimed at keeping your airways open during sleep, ensuring that you breathe easily throughout the night. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • CPAP Machine - The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This involves wearing a mask over your nose and/or mouth during sleep, which is connected to a machine that delivers a steady flow of air to keep your airway open. CPAP therapy is highly effective for most people with sleep apnea, but some may find it uncomfortable or difficult to use consistently. 
  • Oral appliances - Oral appliances are another option for sleep apnea. These devices will be customized for your mouth and will reposition your tongue or jaw to help keep your airway open at night.
  • Surgery - In some cases, surgery may be an option if CPAP or oral appliances aren’t providing sufficient relief. Surgery for sleep apnea involves removing excess tissue from the throat to minimize obstructions to your airways.
  • Lifestyle changes - Your primary care provider may also offer lifestyle changes that could improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol before bed, and practicing good sleep hygiene can potentially alleviate sleep apnea symptoms and can lead to better sleep quality.

It’s important to remember that your treatment plan will depend on the type of sleep apnea you have, your individual medical history, and your lifestyle. It’s best to work with your primary care provider and make follow-up appointments to ensure your condition is improving. Your primary care provider can work with you to fine-tune your treatment and safely monitor your progress.

Get Professional Help from Telehealth Doctors

If you’re a young adult struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to seek professional health. Fortunately, telemedicine has made it easier than ever to receive online care for mental health issues and other conditions without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.

Telemedicine is a healthcare model that allows patients to connect with health care providers through virtual clinics, typically over the phone or through a video connection. It can be especially helpful for those struggling with mental health issues who find it difficult to seek out care in person or those who don’t have easy access to quality mental health services.

Online clinics are also incredibly convenient. Instead of interrupting your work or school life, you can make your appointments on your schedule. You can also have a more comfortable environment to talk to your provider about your mental health issues. Plus, you don’t have to commute to an in-person clinic, wait in a waiting room or deal with the other inconveniences that sometimes accompany in-person care.

Treatment Options

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified healthcare provider. If you want convenient and flexible treatment, consider using a telehealth clinic for your sleep apnea treatment.

Online clinics allow you to receive care for sleep disorders from the comfort of your home. Using video conferencing or voice calls, you can communicate with a telehealth provider and get the same services you would expect from an in-person primary care provider. 

Virtual primary care clinics, like Circle Medical, can provide you with at-home sleep testing, diagnoses, treatment plans, and prescriptions when medically appropriate. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about commuting or taking off work to go to an in-person clinic. Online clinics allow you to access quality care on your schedule and without all of the inconveniences that are associated with in-person care.

If you’re interested in telehealth, Circle Medical is here to help.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

Circle Medical is a virtual primary care clinic with over 200 board-certified primary care providers who can give you the quality care you deserve. Circle Medical even offers same-day appointments so you can get started on your sleep apnea treatment sooner than later. Schedule your appointment with Circle Medical today to experience the convenience of telehealth!

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