What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing to pause. The sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.
Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, be more prone to hypertension, depression, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, can make irregular heartbeats more likely or even congestive heart failure, and may increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Treatments for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and/or breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people. A dentist specializing in sleep disorders can prescribe Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). The oral appliance is a custom made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward which opens up the airway. OAT is usually successful in patients with mild to moderate OSA.
Other treatment for sleep apnea include Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) “air splint” device, weight loss, and somnoplasty/implants.
Surgeries – including UPPP, HMS, Maxillomandibular Advancement may also treat sleep apnia.
If you suspect you or your loved ones to suffer OSA, which afflicts approximately 30 million Americans, an easy take home sleep test can give you the results in less than 24 hours. For more information, ask about the Respironics M Series www.sleepquest.com.