I suppose this is the best support group for this condition. I recently began recording my sleep sounds via an app on my phone every night for about a week out of curiosity as to whether I snore, not sharing my bed doesn't allow me to know for certain. I've listened to many sounds that worry me, I have trouble staying asleep throughout the entire night and once I'm awake usually around 2-4pm I have great difficulty going back to sleep but usually do eventually, albeit it leaves me feeling drained throughout the day. I've got a mood disorder which is treated fairly well with Sertraline/Zoloft that I've taken for years and always presumed I woke up because my mood/circadian rhythm was disturbed as it's recognised symptom of depression.
When I wake up there's usually no reason for it and I'm not gasping for air or wheezing (I've got asthma so i'm accustomed to the feeling when my airways are narrowed). But listening to the audio recording there's times when I've woken up and just before it I sound like I'm gagging briefly before taking a breath. Long story short, I've gone to the GP he says it sounds like the soft palate of the mouth is constricting the airways, but stopped short of giving me a diagnosis of sleep apnea. I've been given a nasal steroid spray to try and the standard advice about losing weight, don't drink, etc. which doesn't apply to me. I'm 32 year old man, as healthy as I can be and hope to live for a good many years yet if only I can get atop of these ailments. The GP also recommended I try a Mandibular Advancement Device but then told me the NHS cannot help with this and that I have to see a dentist! If I'm under their care, don't they have a duty of care to me? I'm being advised to use one, surely they should at the very least make referrals to approved providers? Seems like they're washing their hands of it. It's not a trivial matter after all. Luckily, I have private dental care but not all dentist practices provide this service and who knows if quality differs between dentistries? Seems like this is an uncommon request to my dental practice.
After seeing the GP I thought I'd come away more certain and reassured. Although, it's paradoxically comforting to know my concerns were valid and a previously unknown condition (apnea?) has been identified knowing there are good treatments (if unflattering) and that treatment for apnea? may help my sleep quality, mood disorder and quality of life. At the same time, I feel lost, not knowing whether any treatment will work, whether or not I have a formal diagnosis and many other questions I'd like answers to. I know you only get 10 minutes with a GP and they do the best they can, but I feel this is something life-changing that needs to be discussed in detail. I was hoping to be referred to a specialist with a little more expertise, but leave feeling I've been past off as unimportant. Sorry to rant.