Snoring, tossing, turning, and waking up “foggy”, “cloudy” and “groggy” might mean more than just a bad night’s sleep, particularly if it is happening on a regular basis.
For many Pasadena residents sleep apnea is to blame for these symptoms. With obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your breathing is disrupted or stopped while you are asleep. During sleep the muscles of the throat relax along with the tongue. This relaxation can occlude the trachea and prevent air from exchanging. Therefore, you brain signals your body that you need air. The brain and body are aroused just enough to open the airway. The patient is unaware that they are waking up hundreds of times a night. The results range from short-term sleepiness to long-term health risks. The body is not getting the rejuvenating effects of sleep.
Sleep apnea is very common because it often goes undiagnosed. The stereotype of a sleep apnea patient is an overweight or obese middle-aged man who snores. Although there is some truth to that, as obesity is a major risk factor and sleep apnea does affect more men in general. However, extremely fit people and women also suffer from OSA.
Why is sleep apnea often undiagnosed?
Because OSA symptoms are so broad. Beyond sleep disturbances and other nighttime symptoms, you may also have depression, fatigue, trouble concentrating, a dry mouth and sore throat, or any number of other symptoms.
If you have symptoms — or a spouse or partner notices that you repeatedly stop breathing or gasping for air at night — ask our Pasadena Sleep Apnea Office about a consultation or even scheduling an overnight home sleep study. A consultation with Drs. West and Nugent after a home sleep study is the only way to accurately diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, particularly since so many symptoms overlap with other conditions.
There are ways to deal with sleep apnea. Weight loss can help, since obesity is a risk factor.
Avoiding or reducing alcohol and other sedatives and making a change in sleep habits are solutions to consider when dealing with Sleep Apnea. However, medical doctors only know to treat obstructive sleep apnea with a CPAP machine. Most people can tolerate a CPAP and need an alternative to a CPAP. That is where our office can bridge the gap between MDs and patients. We offer Mandibular Advancement Devices that pull the lower jaw downward and forward. This opens up the airway.
We can help. Our special OSA program can provide you with up-to-date information on treating OSA with Oral Appliances and help you understand the condition. Contact our office today to schedule your Sleep Apnea Consultation.
Sleep apnea is an epidemic, affecting millions of people every single year, and its impact on our health is staggering. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a host of health complications, including increased incidence of: