Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing called an apnea can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur more than thirty times an hour. This condition prevents many people from getting enough oxygen to their heart, brain, and other vital organs during rest.
You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. A recent study estimates that one in every fifteen Americans is affected by at least a moderate degree of sleep apnea. If left untreated, this serious sleep disorder can result in a number of health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, heart sleep apnea treatment attacks, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, and depression.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes blood oxygen levels to fall and forces the heart to work harder and the blood pressure to rise.
Symptoms may be present for years without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the significant levels of sleep disruption.
The diagnosis of sleep apnea is based on the evaluation of both clinical symptoms and the result of a formal sleep study. This study aims at establishing a diagnosis indicator linked to the number of apneic events occurring per hour of sleep. We use the results of the sleep study in combination with your personal symptoms along with the diagnosis from the physician to determine the level of sleep apnea if present.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure is a treatment that uses positive air pressure to keep the airways open during sleep. Although CPAP is often prescribed for individuals with severe sleep apnea, it has a very low compliance rate. Whether it is the comfort of the system, the noise, or being connected to tubing, it is very difficult for many patients to get accustomed to wearing this device. Many people feel a sense of claustrophobia with C-pap.
Fortunately, there are alternative treatment options including oral appliance therapy (OSA). This appliance can be used in place of CPAP for most patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. The appliance gently re-positions your jaw to prevent the soft tissues from collapsing while you sleep, so you can breathe comfortably all night.
Call Dr. Linty for a free sleep apnea consultation to learn more about a custom-fitted oral appliance that you wear while you are sleeping.