The most common type of sleep disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
This occurs when a person’s airway closes and prevents them from taking a breath for at least 10 seconds. Most people breathe 12-14 times per minute. With sleep apnea, many people only breathe 1-2 times per minute! This severe lack of oxygen leads to many health risks, and can leave you feeling exhausted when you wake up!
In fact, waking up feeling tired is one of the main signs of sleep apnea. Other symptoms are daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, restless sleep, headaches in the morning, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, unexplained weight gain, acid reflux, night sweats, and irritability. All of these symptoms are terrible to deal with.
Along with the effects above, sleep apnea causes your organs to get worn down as well. Without more regular breathing, the amount of oxygen in your heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and other organs plummets and your organs can suffer serious damage. Think of it like your insides aging faster than your outsides.
Most people don’t even realize their suffering might be caused by sleep apnea. Usually a partner or family member will be alerted first, based on loud snoring or groans. Keep an ear out for your loved ones, to make sure they’re not suffering from sleep apnea!
Fortunately, we have various successful ways to treat sleep apnea. Treatment always begins with the proper diagnosis, and is a multidisciplinary approach. We work closely with other medical professionals like ENT’s, sleep physicians, and orthodontists to get our patients the best results.
Surgery is an option if the airway requires opening. We refer this treatment to trusted ENT doctors. We will always make sure surgery is required before suggesting this treatment path.
Another great option for many patients is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices. These can be prescribed by a sleep physician, often after completion of an overnight sleep study. These devices are considered the gold standard in care, but they make sleep difficult for some.
We can also offer oral appliances when appropriate. There are different types of oral appliances and we’ll take our time to determine which is right for each individual patient. These appliances are very similar to nightguards, which work to prevent clenching and grinding. Most patients find them comfortable and they can be surprisingly effective in treating sleep apnea.
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from sleep apnea or heavy snoring, call us to discuss your options!