SBD are caused by repetitive collapse or blockage of the upper airway while asleep, that can result in reduced blood oxygen levels to the brain, heart, and other vital organs. Snoring is the resultant “warning bell” of partial or impending airway collapse, whereas OSA results from a complete airway obstruction lasting greater than 10 seconds.
In addition to daytime sleepiness, OSAS may have other daytime symptoms of cognitive impairment that include memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased libido, and impaired concentration. Left untreated, OSA can cause hypertension, strokes, cardiovascular dysrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and sudden death while asleep.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea varies with each patient’s diagnosis, and treatment can be as simple as behavior and lifestyle changes. If you smoke, drink alcohol to excess, are overweight, then changing these things can help reduce or even eliminate your sleep apnea. Many people have been fitted for or have been told by their physician that they should wear a CPAP at night while sleeping. While this is the gold standard in treating sleep apnea, CPAP is used by less than half of patients fitted for it.
Many patients feel the CPAP is too uncomfortable to sleep with. For these patients, or patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, Oral Appliances are a more comfortable, but effective solution. Oral appliances are devices that you wear over your upper and lower teeth. The appliance holds your lower jaw forward, which will open your airway and allow more air to flow into your lungs.
Surgery to prevent upper airway obstruction is available but is best used only after evaluating the effect of an oral appliance. The exception is opening of nasal airway and tonsil and adenoid removal in children.
If you would like to learn more about snoring and sleep apnea or believe you or a family member may have sleep apnea, please contact our office for an evaluation at 479.648.9988.
The Watch-PAT200 provides a new screening, diagnostic, treatment assessment and patient follow-up possibilities in the medical management of sleep-related breathing disorders.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which a person has episodes of blocked breathing during sleep. Watch the video to the left for a look at how sleep apnea affects breathing at night.