Sleep Apnea Treatments
Stop Snoring and Start Sleeping
Do you wake up with headaches? Are you tired during the day? Could you fall asleep easily almost anywhere? Do you get 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night and wake rested and alert? If not you may have a sleep disorder. Many people have sleep disorders, and many of those have a breathing component, called Obstructive Breathing Disorder and Sleep Apnea.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Obstructive Breathing Disorder or Sleep Apnea?
If so, then you know how uncomfortable traditional sleep apnea treatment can be. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is primarily treated with a CPAP (continuing positive airway pressure) machine. The CPAP can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient. It is commonly a mask, worn over the face or nose, attached to a hose of forced air provided by a machine. No wonder compliance is difficult! Some patients think it’s just easier to suffer from the snoring than to try to sleep wearing a CPAP face mask.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat while you’re asleep. This blocks the upper airway, causing airflow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and you partially awaken. The airway then contracts and opens, causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. The flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. When the airflow starts again, you move back into a deep sleep. Then the process repeats, over and over and over. Often the body suffers severe oxygen depletion time and time again throughout these cycles. Depending on the severity, this can be life threatening
The combination of low oxygen levels and disturbed, interrupted sleep is the major contributors to most of the ill effects that the sleep apnea patient suffers.
Think You Might Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Do you snore? If your answer is yes, you know how annoying snoring can be. (And so does your significant other.) But snoring can be more than just an annoyance. It can be a sign of an Obstructive Breathing Disorder.
The real indication of sleep apnea isn’t snoring. It is when your snoring stops. When the snoring stops, often so does your breathing. Sleep Apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for periods of time, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. This cessation of breathing can cause a variety of problems.
Remember to check if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Daytime Sleepiness
- Chronic Fatigue
- Morning Headache
- Impaired Memory And Judgment
- Mood Disturbance
If you suspect you may have a sleep or breathing disorder, call us immediately for your diagnosis.
The Importance of Treatment
Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes daytime sleepiness, but many don’t realize that there are more serious problems associated with this disorder. Sleep Apnea patients are much more likely to suffer from:
- Heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension)
- Obesity or overweight
- A higher incidence of work related and driving related accidents
- High blood pressure
- Generalized inflammation
- Bruxing (teeth grinding- which by itself can be a sleep disorder)
Left untreated, Obstructive Sleep Apnea can shorten the average life span by 10 years and even cause sudden death. Sleep disorders that cause chronic tiredness, with or without breathing problems, cause far more driving fatalities than drunk driving!
Treatment of OSA can be a matter of life and death. Don’t put your health at risk because of CPAP intolerance or worse, the lack of diagnosis.
An Alternative to CPAP
During sleep, the throat and tongue relax, allowing these structures to collapse against one another and obstruct clear airflow.
In certain situations, Dr. Otten can prescribe a special custom-made oral appliance as a treatment for sleep apnea,which gently and safely holds the jaw and tongue forward to help open the throat during relaxed sleep, thus prevent snoring.
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