What is Sleep Apnea?
Waking up from a night’s sleep without getting any sleep—it’s a problem. And that problem could be obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). What is OSA? OSA is a sleep disorder, in which case the upper airway is obstructed by excess tissue, airway muscles collapsing and relaxing during sleep, nasal passages and position of the jaw. The word “apnea” is Greek for “without breath.” OSA is one of three sleep apnea disorders, the others being mixed and central sleep apnea.
An estimated 18 to 20 million adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with OSA, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Most of these people go undiagnosed for a long time because they are unaware of the symptoms. In most cases, a loved one will have noticed the symptoms before the patient. Common symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, waking up abruptly and gasping for air. When apnea occurs, it sends impulses to the brain to wake a person up, allowing them to restart normal breathing patterns. If there are 30 apneas during an average night of sleep (7-8 hours), a patient can be diagnosed with sleep apnea disorder.
This is a disorder that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If a patient continues without treatment, he/she raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Also, a person suffering from sleep apnea will have trouble functioning during the day, which could result in accidents and lack of productivity. A sleep study is the only proper way to diagnose OSA.
Oral Appliance Therapy
To treat OSA, there are many different appliances that can help lessen an obstruction to the airways. Oral appliances are a primary treatment for mild to moderate OSA. What does an oral appliance do? It repositions the tongue and lower jaw forward, allowing the airways to remain open. Dentists typically use oral appliances as their main treatment option. And most dentists offer custom-made oral appliances.
Other Treatment for Sleep Apnea
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) remains the standard therapy for OSA. A CPAP uses air pressure to keep the airway open. If a patient can’t tolerate a CPAP, an oral appliance is the recommended treatment.
Obstructive sleep apnea isn’t something to snore at.
Without proper treatment, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease or even stroke. Daytime fatigue is associated with sleep apnea and can lead to accidents. No matter what type of sleep apnea the patient has, a CPAP machine from Dr. Urlaub can help relieve some sleep apnea symptoms in his patients. Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed with a sleep study and the results of this study will show the abnormal activity occurring during the patient’s sleep. This diagnosis is necessary when prescribing sleep apnea treatment.
CPAP treatment with a sleep apnea machine has been proven to be successful in a variety of patients and Dr. Urlaub believes it is the most effective treatment he can offer his patients. The CPAP machine uses a mask or a nosepiece to supply the patient with constant air. It helps keep the airways open throughout one’s sleep. Masks come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit each patient. If you’re having problems adjusting the fit of your CPAP or want to learn more about what CPAP machine treatment can do for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Urlaub today by calling his Raleigh, NC, office at (919) 870-1201.
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Call Roger D. Urlaub DDS, PA in Raleigh, NC
(also serving Savannah Ridge & Alta Oakridge) at (919) 870-1201
to learn more about snoring and sleep apnea treatment!
Sleep Disorders & Dentistry If my partner snores loudly, should I be concerned and what can be done to alleviate the problem? Why does my sleeping partner have lapses in breathing while sleeping and is it dangerous? Why do I wake up exhausted even though I get up to 10 hours of sleep at night? The answers to these and other questions — and how dentistry can help — are all revealed within... Read Article
Snoring & Sleep Apnea Snoring is annoying to those who have to listen to it, but it can also signal a serious health condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Individuals with OSA experience significant airflow disruption during sleep, which in turn can cause a variety of health problems. Learn what to look for and how your dentist can help... Read Article