Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or periods of low breathing during sleep. It is estimated that 22 million people suffer from sleep apnea with 80% of the moderate to severe suffers are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is caused from the obstruction of the upper airway and is usually referred to as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common and potentially life threatening medical condition that obstructs the airflow during sleep. It occurs when the soft tissue of the throat collapses and narrows the airway preventing the flow of air and reducing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the body. People momentarily wake from sleep when the blood-oxygen levels drop low enough.
Risks Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Patients with OSA have a much higher risk of stroke, hypertension, or congestive heart failure in addition to snoring, daytime sleepiness, memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, diabetes, decreased sex drive, reduced concentration and falling asleep while driving.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
A sleep apnea patient is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing even upon awakening. It is usually recognized by others witnessing the individual during episodes or suspected because of its effects on the body. Symptoms may go on for years without being identified because the sufferer may be conditioned to daytime sleepiness or fatigue associate with a sleep disturbance. Sleep apnea usually worsens with age and weight gain. Some of the common signs of sleep apnea are:
- frequent daytime sleepiness
- fatigue easily
- loud snoring
- waking from sleep gasping or choking
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea frequently goes undiagnosed because people often mistaken it form snoring. Studies have revealed that 50% of loud snorers have some form of sleep apnea. A physician is required to perform an overnight sleep study to properly diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Although first line of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure apparatus (CPAP), an oral appliance is preferred by many patients alone or in combination with other treatments such as weight management, upper airway surgery or CPAP machines. The advantage of an oral appliance is that they are comfortable, small, convenient and easy to wear with usually a couple of weeks to become accustomed to wearing the appliance. They are non-invasive and reversible.
Oral Appliance Therapy
All oral appliances work by repositioning the jaw in a more forward position; pulling the tongue forward stimulating and toning the muscles of the tongue; and stabilizing the lower jaw. All these appliances will open up the airway passages allowing a more unrestricted flow of air exchange and greater flow of blood to the body’s organs.
Call for a sleep apnea consultation and improve the quality of your life today! Call Saratoga Springs’s dentist Dr. Moreau at 518-584-6768.