OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA):
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious disorder characterized by the involuntary cessation of breathingvthat occurs during sleep. Several types of sleep apnea exist, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea,vwhich occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. The breathing stoppages reduce oxygen levels and trigger “micro-arousals” that disrupt sleep quality. Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times per night for just a few seconds or more than a minute.
- Being overweight, or more specifically an adult with BMI of 25 or higher
- Large neck size of >17 inches for men and > 16 inches for women
- Older age of 40+ for men and 50+ for women, and especially people older than 60
- Men have twice the risk as women, but it can occur in women as well, especially during and after menopause
- High blood pressure is very common in people who suffer from sleep apnea
- Smokers have a higher risk of sleep apnea
- Family history, which may be the result of either inherited traits or common lifestyle
- Snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Morning headaches and memory loss
- Irritability and impaired emotional or mental functioning
- Higher risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents
OSA INCREASES THE RISK OF SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS:
- Heart Disease
- Heart Failure
- High Blood Pressure
- Acid Reflux (GERD)
- Adult Asthma
- Liver Problems
- Weight Gain
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Premature Death
DIAGNOSIS OF OSA:
A home sleep test can be provided as a screening tool, but an overnight sleep study at a sleep center and data interpretation by a physician is needed to establish a diagnosis.
TREAMENT OF OSA:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the leading treatment for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a face or nasal mask during sleep that is connected to a pump that provides air directly into the nasal passages in an effort to keep the airway open.
- Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) uses a device similar to a mouthguard that is worn during sleep to support the lower jaw in a forward position to maintain an open and unobstructed airway.
- Surgical options may treat the nose, upper throat (palate, tonsils, uvula), or lower throat (tongue, voicebox)
- Both CPAP and OAT are effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP is the more predictable treatment in cases of more severe apnea, but OAT may also work well, but not as predictably.
- CPAP therapy has less than 50% compliance and greater than 70% of patients prefer oral appliance therapy.
- Oral appliances are quiet, portable, easy to care for, and often more comfortable than CPAP therapy.
- If OAT is deemed to be the best treatment option for you, your doctor will write a prescription so that we may proceed with construction of the custom-made sleep apnea device. With proper documentation by your physician and dentist, oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans.