Sleep Apnea (OSA)
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
Sleep Apnea (OSA) Treatment
The first step in treatment for sleep apnea resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of Utah offers consultation and treatment options.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With cephalometic (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. A sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SNORING AND SLEEP APNEA
Simply put, snoring occurs when the soft tissues in your throat partially obstruct airflow as you sleep, causing the tissues to vibrate and produce the noise we associate with snoring. The breathing is labored, but air is still passing through the airways. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the airways repeatedly close fully, all breathing stops and you are deprived of oxygen until your body forces itself to gasp awake.
Loud, chronic snoring can be one telling symptom of OSA, though there are plenty of people who have long-term snoring problems without ever experiencing any other symptoms consistent with or needing sleep apnea treatment.
There is another form of sleep apnea, called Central Sleep Apnea, but this form is unrelated to snoring. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to self-regulate breathing, whereas OSA is directly linked to the same airway blockage that causes snoring.
SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS
If you think you or your partner may have obstructive sleep apnea, have a conversation to determine if you or they are experiencing any of the following:
- Loud snoring, accompanied by periods of sudden silence or choking/gasping
- Headaches or a sore throat upon waking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme tiredness or even dizziness during the day
- Inexplicable behavior changes, irritability or mood swings
- High blood pressure
RISK FACTORS FOR OSA
Not all people who snore are suffering from sleep apnea. However, many of the risk factors for snoring also increase the chance that a snoring problem evolves into a much more serious case of sleep apnea. The higher your risk of snoring, either through genetic predispositions or lifestyle habits, the higher your risk of developing sleep apnea.
Common risk factors for snoring and sleep apnea alike include:
- Being a biological male or post-menopausal female
- Alcohol consumption, especially right before sleeping
- Sleeping on your back
- Nasal congestion as a result of allergies or the common cold
- Certain medications
- Hormonal balances
SLEEP APNEA TREATMENT
If you are diagnosed with a sleep-related disorder such as chronic snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). This therapy employs a custom-made, adjustable and FDA-approved appliance specifically designed to assist breathing by keeping the tongue and jaw in a forward position as you sleep.
Receiving sleep apnea treatment is important to your health. If left untreated, sleep apnea may cause excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, headaches, and memory loss. Additionally, untreated sleep apnea can increase your chances of high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and diabetes.
If you think you or your partner may have chronic snoring or sleep apnea, contact your sleep apnea experts at Bountiful Office Phone Number 801-779-0506 to schedule an appointment. The nature of these sleep-related disorders can seem insignificant because so many of the visible symptoms occur while you sleep, but sleep apnea is a serious disorder that should be assessed by Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of Utah so you can rest without fear.
BENEFITS OF ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY
Oral appliance therapy is an effective and non-invasive treatment option that is easily incorporated into your lifestyle. The advantages of oral appliance therapy include:
- Easy to wear
- Convenient for travel
- Easy to care for
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of Utah can design a custom-fit oral appliance which can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health. Worn only during sleep, this device fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It helps to support the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.