Sleep apnea occurs when the airway opening is obstructed while the patient is asleep. This obstruction happens because excess soft tissues at the back of the oral cavity collapse and cover the airway opening, either partially or completely, causing the patient to stop breathing briefly.
This can happen anywhere from 5 – 100 times each hour. Each time, the patient’s brain briefly rouses the patient to re-establish normal breathing patterns. This is tremendously disruptive to the person’s ability to sleep.
It also interferes with the rest of sleeping partners, because the air causes the tissues blocking the airway to vibrate and create a loud sound.
In addition to loud snoring, patients who are suffering from sleep apnea may experience many other symptoms, such as:
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult with a specialist about completing a sleep study to either confirm or rule out the diagnosis of sleep apnea. If obstructive sleep apnea is confirmed, you can schedule an appointment at our office to learn about your treatment options.
A cranky sleeping partner is not the only consequence of sleep apnea. Your own health and well – being will suffer as well.
Every time you experience one of these apneic episodes, your body is deprived of adequate oxygen. This causes a cascade of effects throughout your body. As such, many serious health conditions appear to have a relationship with sleep apnea, including:
People who suffer from sleep apnea also may have a higher risk of sudden, unexpected death. Prevent ing such serious health effects is serious motivation for seeking sleep apnea treatment.
Fortunately, sleep apnea can be treated effectively, restoring peace to your relationship and wellness to your life. We can make recommendations of effective treatments in your case.
While some lifestyle changes, like losing weight or avoiding alcohol use before bedtime, can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, many patients will need more targeted interventions to get relief from their symptoms.
Oral appliance therapy is a highly effective treatment for sleep apnea, and it’s non – invasive and comfortable, unlike other options such as surgery or CPAP masks.
Of course, the most appropriate treatment will vary from case to case. We will be able to make more specific recommendations for you after assessing your case.
If you want to help your spouse or partner get a better night’s sleep and improve your own sleep patterns and health, schedule a consultation at our office to explore the types of sleep apnea treatment available to you.