I’m basically the complete opposite of a stereotypical sleep apnea patient: an 18 year old woman who’s nowhere near overweight (I’m actually quite underweight at the moment). Despite this, I think that sleep apnea or UARS is what best explains all the symptoms I’ve been dealing with. I’m always waking up with headaches, a dry mouth, and throat pain. I never get any quality sleep and tend to wake up multiple times throughout the night, often in moments of panic/anxiety. During the day, I deal with constant tiredness and brain fog. However, I don’t snore to the best of my knowledge. If I do have sleep apnea as I suspect, I believe it’s caused by my jaws being recessed and narrow. I’ve never consulted with an orthodontist or surgeon but just based on my appearance, that’s what it seems like.

My biggest problem currently is getting my doctor to take my suggestion of sleep apnea seriously. When I first brought up my symptoms, I was advised by my GP to take vitamin d supplements that did nothing for me as I’m not vitamin d deficient. My bloodwork has also shown that I’m not anemic and I don’t have any sort of thyroid disorder. While I am underweight, which I realize can cause fatigue and sleep disturbances, my symptoms have been occurring literally as far back as I can remember, since childhood, and I only became underweight within the past year. My doctor told me sleep apnea seems unlikely given my age, bmi, and the fact I don’t snore and now wants to refer me to a psychiatrist because my symptoms could relate to depression. I don’t think I’m depressed.

I just want to get a sleep study done and I’m so sick of being made to do other tests that I don’t think will uncover the real problem. Am I able to see a sleep specialist without a referral? If not, has anyone else had to work to convince their doctor to take their sleep concerns seriously?

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