Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder. Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder that causes your breathing to stop because the airway becomes completely blocked, usuallly for 10 to 30 seconds at a time.
When breathing stops the body's oxygen level falls. When this happens the sleeper is partially awakened- usually with a loud gasp. This cycle continues throughout the night with awakenings up to 30 times per hour. The result is very poor sleep and daytime tiredness.
Untreated sleep apnea is serious. It increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. It also contributes to learning and memory problems and a higher risk for car accidents.
You can rate the quality of your sleep with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Take the test.
Sleep Apnea in children
Children also can have sleep apnea. Children who snore should be evaluated for the presence of sleep apnea. Sometimes children who appear to be "hyperactive" or are labeled "ADD" actually have sleep apnea. In many situations enlarged tonsils and adenoids cause the airway to close resulting in the snoring and apnea. These children should be evaluated by an ENT doctor and a sleep physician.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
Since OSA is amedical problem we will refer you to a medical doctor who specializes in Sleep Medicine.
Diagnosis requires an overnight sleep study in a sleep center. The problem is evaluated and treatment options are offered.
There is an excellent Sleep Center at Chilton Hospital.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
The most common treatment is called CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure). It is a machine that pumps air into the lungs. The pressure of the air keeps the airway from collapsing. CPAP requires a mask that is positioned over the nose and nose and mouth. It is difficult to tolerate but is effective when used as prescribed.
Another treatment that I perform is an ORAL APPLIANCE. The custom fit oral appliance positions the lower jaw forward so that the airway is kept open. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is an approved and effective method of treatment. It is better tolerated by many patients than CPAP. It is portable for those who travel, quiet, flexible, less cumbersome, esthetically more pleasing to many patients - and it works.
If you snore or feel you have and issue with sleep apnea, contact us. Correcting this will improve your health, lengthen your life and improve your relationship.