August 1, 2014

Sleep Apnea, Appointment Preparation

This will vary some by who is the sleep doctor. My appointments have varied in length from 15 minutes to more than 30 minutes depending on what was to be covered. Preparation is important. Some people will need to see their regular doctor for a referral while others will be directed to the sleep doctor directly.

Hopefully some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic will be helpful.
Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as modify your diet or keep a sleep diary.
Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
Ask a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember information that you missed or forgot. And, because your bed partner may be more aware of your symptoms than you are, it may help to have him or her along.
Write down questions to ask your doctor.”

Again this can be important for sleep apnea. I again turn the the Mayo Clinic:

What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
What kinds of tests do I need?
Do these tests require any special preparation?
Is my condition likely temporary or long lasting?
What treatments are available?
What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
Which treatment do you think would be best for me?
I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
Should I see a specialist?
Is there a generic alternative to the medicine or product you're prescribing me?
Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
What websites on sleep apnea do you recommend?”

Don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.

Next, here are some questions your doctor may ask you: This is when a spouse may be able to assist in providing information.
#1 When did you first notice symptoms?
#2 Are the symptoms consistent?
#3 How severe are the symptoms?
#4 How does your partner describe you symptoms?
#5 Does anything worsen your symptoms, such as sleep position or alcohol consumption?
#6 Are you aware if you stop breathing during sleep?
#7 Is there anything that has helped your symptoms?

Between now and your appointment, the following are things that you can do to help. Sleep on your side if possible since most forms of sleep apnea are milder then. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime and reduce the amount of alcohol consumed as this tends to cause obstructive and complex sleep apneas to worsen. If necessary, confer with your doctor to stop prescription sleep aids and stop all over the counter sedative medications, as they also worsen sleep apnea.

Lastly, if you have trouble with wanting to fall asleep while driving, forget driving and ask someone to drive for you. Even is you live alone, consider having a friend do your driving if possible.

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