What Is Sleep Apnea? Eagle Mountain UT
Sleep apnea, a prevalent sleep disorder, impacts millions of individuals across the globe. This condition is defined by disruptions in breathing during sleep. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or need treatment options, consult with our professionals at Ranches Family Dental to improve your sleep and overall well-being. We can provide an in-depth understanding of sleep apnea, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Understanding Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Types, and Treatment Options
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person experiences repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses, known as apneas, can last for several seconds or even minutes, disrupting the normal sleep cycle.
There are two primary types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea that occurs when the throat muscles prevent passage of air. The blockage can result from relaxed throat muscles, excess tissue, or a combination of both. OSA is often associated with loud snoring and frequent awakenings due to gasping or choking for air.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing. Individuals with CSA may not snore as frequently, and their breathing interruptions are not caused by airway blockages. CSA involves the central nervous system and is less common as compared to OSA.
Symptoms and Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can negatively affect the health of individuals. Common symptoms of the condition include:
Getting treatment for sleep apnea is important as it can cause your blood oxygen levels to drop and your blood pressure to rise. Low blood oxygen levels and high blood pressure can damage your heart and blood vessels.
Sleep apnea can also disrupt your sleep and make you feel tired, groggy, and irritable in the morning. It can impair your cognitive functions, such as memory, concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Sleep apnea can also increase your risk of depression, anxiety, mood swings, and other psychological problems. By treating sleep apnea, you can prevent these complications and protect your health.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment options for sleep apnea depend on the severity of the condition and its underlying causes.
Oral Appliance Therapy:
Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive and effective treatment option for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the use of custom-made oral appliances, similar to mouth guards or retainers, that are worn during sleep. These appliances work by repositioning the jaw and tongue to maintain an open airway, preventing the collapse of soft tissues.
An oral appliance is custom-made for each individual by a dentist or a sleep specialist. The appliance is designed to fit comfortably in the mouth and is adjusted to the specific jaw and dental characteristics of the patient. The appliance works by repositioning the lower jaw (mandible) and the tongue slightly forward. This forward positioning of the jaw helps prevent the collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat which leads to airway obstruction during sleep.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):
CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask that delivers a continuous stream of air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep. It is one of the most common and effective treatments for moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP):
BiPAP machines provide two different levels of air pressure, one for inhalation and a lower one for exhalation. They are often used when a person has difficulty tolerating a CPAP.
Inspire therapy is a newer treatment that involves implanting a small device in the upper chest area. The device stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to prevent airway collapse during sleep. This device has three main components: a breathing sensor lead, a stimulation lead, and a neurostimulator.
During sleep, the device detects when you're trying to inhale, and it delivers mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the muscles of the tongue and other airway muscles. The stimulation helps to prevent the airway from collapsing, keeping it open and allowing for normal breathing.
Inspire therapy is patient-controlled, meaning you can activate and deactivate it using a small remote control. You turn it on before sleep and off upon waking. Clinical trials have shown that Inspire therapy can be highly effective in reducing the severity of sleep apnea and improving the quality of sleep for many patients.
The treatment option is most suitable for individuals with moderate to severe OSA who have been unable to tolerate or benefit from other treatments.
Surgical options may be considered when other treatments are ineffective or in cases of severe sleep apnea. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) involves removing excess tissue from the throat to widen the airway.
Another surgical option is genioglossus advancement (GA). This procedure involves repositioning the tongue attachment to prevent airway collapse.
Lastly, doctors may sometimes recommend maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) that involves repositioning the upper and lower jaw to enlarge the airway.
Let Us Help Treat Your Sleep Apnea
Our experienced team of dentists can provide a comprehensive evaluation, diagnose sleep apnea, and recommend appropriate treatment options, including oral appliance therapy. The first step towards better sleep is by talking with Dr. Richard Baldwin about sleep apnea treatment options today. Visit Ranches Family Dental or contact us at (385) 374-0500 to schedule an appointment and discuss your symptoms and concerns.