What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, in which the breathing stops and starts repeatedly. It occurs when the muscle present at the back of the throat relaxes too much. Major symptoms are loud snoring, and episodes of breathing cessations. For milder cases, lifestyle changes help and for severe ones, treatment includes therapies and medication.

Sleep apnea usually occurs during sleep. When apnea occurs, sleep usually is disrupted due to inadequate breathing, and poor oxygen levels in the blood. Sometimes this means the person wakes up completely, but sometimes this can mean the person comes out of a deep level of sleep, and into a more shallow level of sleep. Apnea is usually measured during sleep (preferably in all stages of sleep) over a 2-hour period. An estimate of the severity of apnea is calculated by dividing the number of apneas by the number of hours of sleep, giving an apnea index (AI in apneas per hour); the greater the AI, the more severe the apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and even life-threatening condition. The risks of undiagnosed OSA include heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease, and decreased libido. In addition, OSA causes daytime drowsiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity, and relationship problems.

The most common symptoms are:
  • Loud snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy during day time
  • Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Insomnia

Diagnosing

Home sleep tests- M.D.I.C will send a PT to your home to perform simplified tests used to diagnose sleep apnea. They record the number of episodes of slow or stopped breathing, as well as the number of central sleep apnea events detected in an hour. They also determine whether oxygen levels in the blood are lower during these events. These tests usually measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. If the results are abnormal, Dr. Collins might be able to prescribe a therapy without further testing.

This type of sleep study requires you to stay overnight at a sleep center, in a bed that may resemble a hotel room. You will sleep with sensors hooked up to various parts of your body. These sensors record your brain waves, heartbeat, breathing and movement.

You may also need to keep a sleep diary for two weeks. This includes information about what time you went to bed each night, when you woke up in the morning, and how many times you woke up throughout. This will help the doctor see your sleep patterns, which could contain clues about how to diagnose and correct your sleep problem.

Dr. Collins will also try to determine if there is something else that is causing your sleep problems or making the symptoms worse, such as:

  • Another sleep disorder
  • A medical condition
  • Medication use
  • A mental health disorder
  • Substance abuse

We can help you with specialized custom treatments!

Oral appliances help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep, and promoting adequate air intake. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders.

Sleep apnea treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as losing
weight or changing sleep positions, to CPAP therapy, to surgery.

  • CPAP is a nasal pillow device that is held in place by custom or boil and bite appliance. It may also attach to a mandibular repositioning appliance.
  • TSD (TONGUE STABILIZING DEVICE ) anti-snoring aid is a splint that holds the tongue in place to keep the airway open.
  • Mandibular advancement device, or MAD is a specific dental device that is most effective with a patient who suffers from mild to moderate apnea, and who sleeps on their back or stomach.
  • Clasp Retained Mandibular Positioner (CRMP) is an appliance that uses multiple clasps to positively lock the mandible into the appliance, and prevent it from retruding.
  • Elastic Mandibular Advancement Appliance (EMA) is a removable intraoral appliance for noninvasive treatment, and is designed to both advance the lower jaw, and open the bite.

How We Determine the Best Oral Devices

  • Treatment and Health– We make sure the device offers the best treatment, and doesn’t affect other areas of your health
  • Product Reliability and Quality– We take a closer look to see if the device actually works and meets our safety standards
  • Device Reputation– We find the companies with the best reputations
  • Cutting Edge Technology– We make sure the device uses the latest in design, medicine, and science for ease of use, comfort, and healing

CPAP – The most common treatment

A CPAP machine uses a hose and mask, or nose piece, to deliver constant and steady air pressure. The CPAP machine is basically a small box which has a motorized fan inside. This fan very quietly draws air from the room, gently pressurizes it, then delivers it at a setting specific to your needs. Attached to the CPAP machine is a hose which connects the box to the mask. This flexible, lightweight tubing is also typically heated to reduce any condensation that might collect inside it while the humidifier is in use. The hose is long enough—around 6 feet—to give you full movement during sleep. Hoses can wear out over time and should be replaced as necessary. The next piece is the CPAP mask. It come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the vast array of facial landscapes. Masks wear out over time and should be replaced on a regular schedule.

Many CPAP users find that using a CPAP device is a restorative and life-changing treatment. Provided you commit to the treatment, you will see many benefits including:

  • Longer, More Restful Sleep
  • Improved Energy
  • Less Drowsiness During the Day
  • Reduced High Blood Pressure
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Attack
  • Reduced Risk of Stroke
  • Improved Cardiac Function

There may be some hurdles at first, but they don’t have to be deal-breakers! Once you know what to do, you can sleep well with a CPAP machine.The treatment is essential to avoiding complications of obstructive sleep apnea, such as heart problems and excessive daytime sleepiness.

 

 

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