Sleep Apnea Treatment
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 18 million adults suffer from sleep apnea. And many of them don’t know it. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax and collapse into your airway while you sleep, instead of keeping the airway open. What are the signs of sleep apnea, and how can it be treated?
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Feeling sleepy and fatigued while you are awake, awakening suddenly at night, or waking up and gasping for air—all are signs of sleep apnea. But the most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Approximately 90% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, which means their airway is obstructed during sleep.
In addition to making you feel tired, long-term, untreated sleep apnea can be life-threatening. If you have this condition and it’s left untreated, you can have a higher risk for heart problems, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
What Are the Sleep Apnea Treatments?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has designated oral appliances as the preferred treatment for mild and moderate sleep apnea and snoring.
As an extensively trained dentist, Dr. Azarbal is experienced in the use of a number of non-invasive oral appliances, including Tap®, the Full Breath Solution, and the SomnoDent® MAS.
Dr. Azarbal uses the Ares™ portable sleep study machine in conjunction with sleep studies recommended by your physician. Data gathered during a sleep study is used for diagnosis by a sleep doctor.
The Ares machine is also used to ensure that your sleep apnea device is working properly, and to make any needed adjustments.
Impressions of your teeth are taken to make a customized appliance to fit your mouth. It is worn while you sleep, so you can breathe without snoring and get restful sleep.
CPAP Intolerant Patients
Use of an oral appliance to open the airway may resolve your sleep apnea episodes without the need for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device—a machine that blows air into your nose through a mask.
If you have already been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and are having difficulty using a CPAP machine, Dr. Azarbal can recommend a range of alternative treatments.
Learn More About Sleep Apnea (FAQs)
To help you achieve the best sleep of your life, preserve your health, and maintain dental function, we have provided additional information. Dr. Azarbal has answered a number of frequently asked questions so you can become well-informed about sleep apnea and treatment options. Talk to our team today to find out more or to schedule a consultation.
Are there different types of sleep apnea?
There are a few different types of sleep apnea, and it’s important to know which one you have in order to provide the most effective treatment. In general, there are three kinds of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – The most common form of sleep apnea, this condition occurs due to a blockage of the airway, often from the soft tissues covering or collapsing over the throat.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – This far less common type of sleep apnea happens as a result of the brain not sending out the normal signals to the muscles associated with breathing to function. In some cases, the brain is sending the signals correctly, but for another reason the muscles are not receiving them.
Complex Sleep Apnea – The third type of sleep apnea is a combination of the other two types of sleep apnea, and is also known as Mixed Sleep Apnea.
What are the risk factors for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be a very serious, potentially even deadly, condition with significant long-term effects. While many sleep apnea concerns are less severe, it’s essential to get treatment for this condition, as it can cause or worsen:
- Sudden cardiac death
- Heart disease
- Acid reflux
- High blood pressure
- Sexual Dysfunction
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Some patients only experience minor concerns due to sleep apnea, but much more severe and life-threatening conditions can develop, including heart attack and stroke. If you have a reason to believe you or a loved one has sleep apnea, it’s important to discuss the symptoms with a doctor or dentist skilled in this area.
What if I suspect someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?
One option you can suggest is to have the individual take a sleep apnea assessment test. These online questionnaires can help determine if an individual should see a specialist. Contact us today if you believe you or a family member or friend has this condition, as we can recommend a sleep specialist to confirm a diagnosis. This typically requires the patient to attend a “sleep study” in which they will be monitored during their sleep to identify signs of sleep apnea. Once diagnosed, we can help provide effective treatment options.
Does snoring always indicate sleep apnea?
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and almost everyone will snore occasionally. That said, it’s one of the most common symptoms of the disorder. If you know someone who snores, or if you snore, it’s always best to get evaluated by a skilled professional to ensure nothing serious is occurring. Always better safe than sorry, we say!
Which Treatment Is Right for Your Sleep Apnea?
If you or someone you love is suffering with sleep apnea, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Azarbal. He will perform the appropriate tests for accurate diagnosis and treatment that will help you get the sleep you need.