Sleep Apnea Treatment
IN RECENT YEARS, PUBLIC AWARENESS OF SLEEP APNEA HAS GROWN EXPONENTIALLY.
Today, more people are aware of sleep breathing disorders and are encouraged to seek help from a health provider if they snore or experience other symptoms that may indicate apnea. Often, it is our partners and family members who notice when we stop breathing in our sleep for short periods of time.
There are several medical problems that can result from untreated sleep apnea and several symptoms that may indicate the condition. Dr. Savitha Siddappa of Thousand Oaks, CA can help you learn how to get yourself tested for sleep apnea and offer treatment solutions when other medical interventions don't fit into your life.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing when you sleep. When you are awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can flow into your lungs. When you are asleep, however, these muscles relax, and the airway may become narrowed, reducing your respiratory function. As mentioned, many people may not be aware they suffer from this condition, so a common sign of sleep apnea is a complaining spouse. If your spouse or partner complains of snoring, tossing and turning, or noisy sleeping from you, it's worth your time to have yourself examined by a medical professional, since the effects of sleep apnea can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- Stopping breathing when you sleep
- Gasping in your sleep
- Tiredness, even after a full night's
- Fatigue and soreness, despite a healthy lifestyle
- Trouble concentrating or learning new things
- Mental fatigue and depression
Effects of Sleep Apnea on Your Overall Health
All parts of your body need adequate oxygen to function optimally. When you regularly stop breathing multiple times a night, this causes two problems: (1) you do not get quality rest, and (2) you do not get enough oxygen. Failure to get adequate rest happens because your REM sleep cycle is disturbed by constant waking, even if you are unaware of it. Lack of REM sleep can have a detrimental effect on your cognitive abilities, as well as your immune response and the regenerative/restorative effects of sleep. When your body does not get proper oxygen at night, this can lead to a number of systemic illnesses and medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Furthermore, a known danger of sleep breathing disorders is something called micro-sleep. When patients do not get adequate rest at night, cognitive function is reduced, and patients may enter periods of micro-sleep when brainwaves mimic that of sleeping periods, despite having your eyes open and thinking you are fully awake. This can happen when you are driving or completing less stimulating or repetitive tasks. This puts you at great danger of having an accident if you drive regularly or operate heavy machinery for your work.
Getting a Medical Diagnosis
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study. These are typically performed at a sleep lab or sleep clinic. An at-home sleep study may also be recommended by your doctor.
The first step in determining whether you suffer from sleep apnea is a consultation with your regular physician, who can coordinate and interpret the results from a sleep study. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and avoidance of alcohol may be recommended, or CPAP/BiPAP therapy or surgery may be suggested.
How Dr. Siddappa Can Help You
Many patients are surprised to learn that a dentist can help treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. If you've already received a medical diagnosis, yet continue to suffer periods of not breathing when you sleep, Dr. Siddappa may be able to offer you treatment in the form of an oral appliance.
An oral sleep appliance fits like a mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. These appliances are worn when you are sleeping and help support the jaw to maintain a forward position, which helps your airway remain open. For many patients, this is a comfortable, less invasive way of treating snoring or OSA.
Dr. Siddappa and her staff are specially trained to recognize symptoms and help you make the right choice in managing your sleep apnea and snoring. Whether you have already sought medical treatment or not, Prism Dental Group can help you take the first or next steps in managing your sleep breathing problems for better overall health, now and in the future.