Obstructive Sleep Apnea – A Sleeping Disorder
Sleep apnea is a “Sleeping Disorder”. There are many types of sleeping disorders. This specific form is caused by obstruction (i.e. blockage) of the airway. As our San Marcos sleep apnea dentist explains, there is so much blockage of the airway that the patient is unable to breathe. This disease affects roughly 25 million people in the United States alone.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea happens while the patient is asleep. So unless they have a bed partner, there is no one to observe the patient. And even then, if the bed partner is a heavy sleeper, they really cannot tell either. So here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA for short.
- Loud Snoring
- Gasping for air in sleep
- Sleep that is not “restful”
- Morning Headaches
Blockage of Airway
In OSA, the impulse to breathe is there. However, the airway is squeezed shut. After several seconds (anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds, sometimes longer) of not breathing, the patient has a “micro-awakening.” This is enough for the patient to gasp for air before falling back asleep. And this typically occurs several times throughout the night. The severity of the OSA depends on the length of the bouts of not breathing and how many times they occur nightly.
Traditional Therapy – CPAP
Traditional treatment for sleep apnea involves the use of a CPAP machine. This is a medical device that the patient uses while sleeping. A mask is worn on the face and the air is forced in through the mouth, nose, or both. The problem with these machines is that since they are cumbersome and somewhat unattractive, patients stop using them after a short while. However, with the advent of mouthguards to treat sleep apnea, patients are relying less on CPAP and more on oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea – Why Treat It?
The implications of sleep apnea are far-reaching. Due to a lack of restful sleep, the brain is not able to function at its normal level. This causes loss of productivity at work, and at school. This could further spell trouble for the health and safety of others. Some of the worst accidents recorded by the transportation industry stem from operators suffering from sleep apnea that was never treated. Be sure to read our article “Snoring & Sleep Apnea” for more information.
Besides posing a danger to others this disorder reduces the quality of life for the patient. These patients have less energy, are more prone to accidents, and have a higher incidence of heart attacks.
How to Treat
Treatment begins with the proper diagnosis. Often times a sleep study is ordered by your doctor. This study helps look at your physiological signs like breathing, heart rate, and more during sleep. Based on the findings of this study your doctor can then diagnose you properly. Armed with this information we can make you an oral device that you can use while sleeping to help treat your condition.
Cost of Therapy
The cost of treatment will depend on the complexity of the case. And since this is a serious medical issue, medical insurance typically has benefits for treatment. We also offer financing as well.
Contact us now to start your journey towards better health.