Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. This deprives the brain of oxygen, ruining the quality of your sleep. Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction in the airway or a failure of the muscles used for breathing.
Who Is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Men over the age of 40 are the most likely to suffer from sleep apnea. You are at particular risk if you are overweight, have a large neck, tonsils, or tongue (especially combined with a small jawbone), suffer from GERD, or have any nasal obstructions.
The Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to a number of health problems, including headaches, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and depression. The most dangerous thing about sleep apnea is that it often goes undiagnosed — and therefore untreated. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a consultation.
How We Treat Sleep Apnea
We may be able to diagnose sleep apnea by symptoms that appear during the day. You should also ask your bed partner or anyone else in your household if they have noticed that you have unusual breathing patterns when you sleep. We may also request that you to take part in a sleep study.
If we think that you are suffering from sleep apnea, we will create a dental appliance for you to use while sleeping. The most common option is a mask fitted to a CPAP machine to keep your airway open. A CPAP machine pushes out a constant flow of air to keep the airway from collapsing as the muscles of the throat relax. Other options include devices to reposition the lower jaw and tongue.
We will also give you recommendations on how you can change your lifestyle to soothe sleep apnea. For instance, losing weight, cutting down on your intake of alcohol, quitting smoking, and changing sleep position can all reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.