Sleep apnea is a significant health problem. Around 22 million Americans suffer from this sleep disorder, and as many as 80% of cases are never diagnosed. The correct diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea offer patients a longer, healthier, and better life. If you or someone you love suffers from sleep apnea, Sophi Nabavi, DMD, at Corpus Christi Advanced Dentistry, in Corpus Christi, Texas, is available to help. For better sleep and to improve your overall health, call today or book an appointment online.
Characterized by short pauses in breathing while you sleep, sleep apnea causes partial arousal from sleep and a lack of restorative sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea.
OSA blocks the airway over and over again throughout the night. This happens when the tongue collapses against the soft palate, causing the soft palate to collapse against the back of the throat. This closes the airway, and the sufferer partially awakens to resume breathing.
In patients with severe sleep apnea, this cycle of blockages and partial rousing happens hundreds of times a night.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can also affect women. Excess weight, a misaligned jaw, or narrow airways increase your risk of developing sleep apnea.
While symptoms of sleep apnea vary, some are seen in most cases, including:
Because snoring is such a prevalent symptom of sleep apnea, all cases of snoring should be evaluated to determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is extremely dangerous for a variety of reasons. Due to the lack of restorative sleep, patients suffering from untreated sleep apnea can suffer from daytime fatigue, morning headaches, and memory loss. The persistent drowsiness can cause car accidents and accidents with heavy machinery.
Untreated OSA increases your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways. Treatments include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, oral appliances, and surgery. While CPAP machines are a common choice, many patients struggle with them because they’re loud and uncomfortable.
Surgery is recommended only for the most severe sleep apnea.
Oral appliances are quickly gaining popularity as a treatment for sleep apnea because they’re comfortable, silent, and effective.
After testing them for safety and effectiveness, the FDA approved more than 100 oral appliances for treating sleep apnea. The use of oral appliances has proven to be very effective in patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. These are the people who struggle with the CPAP machine and those whose symptoms remain after surgery.
Learn about your options for a custom-fitted oral appliance that offers you a flexible, noninvasive treatment to restore your sleep and remove the cloud of fatigue.
If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, call or schedule an appointment with Corpus Christi Advanced Dentistry today.