Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans and is as common as type 2 diabetes. It leaves them tired and if left untreated, it causes stroke, impotence, weight gain, memory problems, hypertension, and poor performance from metabolic syndrome. The long-term effects of sleep loss has been associated with increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, dementia, GERD, heart attack and stroke. One in five car accidents are associated with driver sleepiness. .Hence, it is one of the most under diagnosed and debilitating conditions of our time.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep Apnea is a condition where you stop breathing in your sleep causing so your oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels which results in irreparable damage to your blood vessels and organs. Often people stop breathing hundreds of times during the night for a minute or longer without full awakening. As a result, most people do not know that they have sleep apnea and the condition becomes a silent killer with life-shortening consequences.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls into the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. There are two main types of this disorder; Central Sleep Apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by a board certified dentist like Dr. Berley. Dr. Berley is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and works closely with your sleep physician to help control this serious disease.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea
You could be at risk for Sleep Apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Gasping or choking during sleep waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Headache upon awakening / Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Poor memory, forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
If you experience any of these symptoms you should get tested for sleep apnea.
Reason for treating sleep apnea
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop breathing numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen.
What does sleep apnea treatment involve?
Treatment of Sleep Apnea requires a full team approach. Dentists cannot make a diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The first step in being treated for snoring or sleep apnea is to obtain an evaluation by a sleep physician who will provide a formal diagnosis and prescription based on your sleep study. Once diagnosed then an oral appliance may be an option for treatment.
A custom made oral appliance is an effective life changing treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health. Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard and advances the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open. There are many types of oral appliances, Dr. Berley will determine the best type of oral appliance for you depending on your breathing and your bite.Custom-made oral appliances are emerging as an ideal treatment option particularly for mild to moderate OSA. Oral Appliance therapy has come to the forefront as an extremely effective, scientifically tested treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
See the link below for more information regarding specific oral appliances.
Sleep Apnea Appliances