When the tongue or soft tissue of the neck cause a blockage of the upper airway, airy no longer travels freely to the lungs. This serious medical condition is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is a huge undiagnosed problem that negatively affects your organs and your overall well-being and health. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, feeling tired or falling asleep during the day, waking up to use the restroom frequently, waking up gasping for air and being 30+ pounds overweight with a large neck size.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is unfortunately very common. Left untreated, patients with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing constantly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. With each apnea event, the brain sends and emergency signal to the body to wake up and clear the airway obstruction. Patients will experience a small arousal from sleep, clear the airway and go back to a deeper sleep not even knowing this event happened. Thus, sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Patients do not receive the rejuvenating effects of sleep.
Sleep apnea is literally the stoppage of breathing during the night. Sleep apnea affects 13-17% of adults over 40 years old in the United States. Around 70% of the time, loud snoring is indicative of OSA. However, just because one snores does not mean they have sleep apnea. In fact, the only way to be diagnosed with sleep apnea is to take a sleep test.
How Serious is Sleep Apnea (OSA)
John’s Hopkin’s University research study of 6,400 men and women over 8 years found that OSA increased the risk of death by 46%. So Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a very serious medical condition. This is why advanced dentists are screening, working with medical doctors and treating OSA.
Did you know that sleep apnea studies have shown that…
- Severe OSA can take 12-15 years off a person’s life.
- Smoking can take 7-10 years off a person’s life.
- Type ll Diabetes can take 5-10 years off a person’s life.
How much sleep are you and your partner losing?
Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can result in a noteworthy amount of sleep loss. The snoring, gasping for air, and choking episodes during the night can results in a bedmate losing up to an hour of sleep a per night. This does not include the poor quality of sleep that results in waking up numerous times throughout the night.
Ask your bed partner if they have witnessed you holding your breath or breathing too fast or too slow. Many sleep disorder sufferers are not aware of habits they may have. Awareness is the first step to your health improvement. Then schedule a visit at our office to discuss OSA.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- Have you been told that you snore?
- Are you still tired when you get up in the morning?
- Do you doze during the day?
- Do you have trouble concentrating?
- Do you feel depressed?
- Do you wake up with a dry or sore throat?
- Are you irritable in the morning or have morning headaches?
- Do your legs feel twitchy at night?
- Do you seem to be losing your sex drive?
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Include:
- Are you grinding your teeth?
- Are your teeth becoming sensitive to hot and cold liquid?
- When you look into the mirror do your teeth look like someone is filing them down?
- Have you noticed visible tooth fractures or even broken a took off just by eating?
- Have you gained so much weight it is hard to lose?
- Do you feel like your metabolism has slowed down?
- Are you too tired to workout?
- Do you sometimes bite your tongue when you eat or talk?
- Do you feel your tongue is too large for your mouth and sometimes cases restrictive air flow?
- A large tongue and narrow airway opening to the throat is a risk factor.
- Do you have a large neck circumference?
- A neck circumference of 17 inches for men and 15 inches for women is generally associated with OSA due to the added weight compressing the airway when sleeping.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease & Stroke
Sleep Apnea is measured in the stoppage of breathing of more than 10 seconds at a time or the drop in blood oxygen of 4% or more. People with sleep apnea can have these events dozens to hundreds of time per night. These sleep apnea events lead to dangerous drops in blood oxygen levels. The body increase blood pressure trying to compensate for low oxygen concentration. The heart beats faster also trying to compensate for the low oxygen concentration. Sleep Apnea puts an incredible burden on the cardiovascular system.
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA can only be properly diagnosed by a board-certified M.D. in sleep medicine. This is done after a patient takes a sleep study. The M.D. will determine how severe the sleep apnea is and prescribe what treatment options would be appropriate. In cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea an oral appliance can be use.
There are three common treatment options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Medical Treatment for Sleep Apnea
OSA may be treated with a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) device. It consists of a facial or nasal mask connected to an air pump. The CPAP machine rams air down your throat obliterating any soft tissue blockage. Unfortunately, the CPAP has a low level of long term compliance because many stop wearing it over time.
Surgical Treatment for Sleep Apnea
In extreme cases, a surgical solution may be suggested to address sleep apnea and snoring disorders. However, surgical intervention has a high reoccurrence and has the largest risks involved of any sleep apnea treatment.
Dental Treatment for Sleep Apnea
We offer an oral appliance therapy to treat OSA. This custom made device brings the lower jaw forward and downward. This motion opens up the airway during sleep. Patients are able to tolerate this treatment very well.
Sleep Apnea is to great of a problem to be ignored. Call our office at 832-487-0647 or come visit us at 3421 Burke Rd #1, Pasadena, Texas 77504.