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Sleep Apnea Treatment Options: What Can You Expect?

Jan 06, 2021

A potentially severe sleep disorder causing repeated stopping and starting of breathing is sleep apnea. Approximately five percent of Americans are affected by sleep apnea resulting in them snoring loudly when sleeping and feeling tired even after getting a full night’s sleep.

People affected by sleep apnea cannot diagnose the issue themselves but need help from their bed partner, who may report sleeplessness because of their loud snoring. When people hear reports about their snoring, they must contact their doctor to understand whether they have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment options can ease the symptoms and may prevent cardiovascular problems and other complications.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The relaxing of the muscles at the back of the throat is considered one of the primary sleep apnea causes. The muscles supporting the soft palate or the triangular piece of tissue hanging from it, the tonsils, and the throat and the tongue’s sidewalls are all responsible for causing sleep apnea.

The relaxing of the muscles narrows the airway or shuts it down when breathing. Affected individuals don’t get enough air resulting in a lowering of oxygen levels in their blood. Their brain senses their inability to breathe and briefly awakes damp to enable them to reopen their airway. Patients don’t remember the awakening but may snort, gasp, or choke. The pattern repeats itself 5 to 30 times every hour during the night impairing the patient’s ability to reach deep sleep.

Many types of sleep apnea can affect people. Among them, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and occurs when the throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea happens while the brain does not send the signs required by the powers that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a condition that affects people with both obstructive and central sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea have some symptoms which their bed partners can notice. Their loud snoring, gasping for air when sleeping, difficulty staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty being attentive when awake, and irritation.

Snoring loudly indicates a potentially severe concern, and people with the symptoms of sleep apnea must discuss the issue with their doctor. They must inquire with their doctor whether the problem they are confronting leaves them tired, sleepy, and irritated.

What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

Many factors can increase the risks of sleep apnea. Some of them include:

Obesity. Fat deposits in the upper airway obstruct breathing, and sleep apnea is a common problem among people who are obese.

Medical Conditions. Medical conditions like congestive heart failure, type II diabetes, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease are some conditions that increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can affect anyone regardless of their age and even affects children in many cases. Besides causing numerous issues to the affected individual, sleep apnea also affects their bed partners because of their loud snoring. It is why people affected by this issue must get themselves treated after a diagnosis of their condition.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Medical practitioners evaluate the signs and symptoms and the sleep history of the affected individual. Patients receive a referral to a sleep medicine specialist to determine whether they need further evaluation. The diagnosis procedure includes undergoing sleep tests at a clinic offering nocturnal polysomnography or home sleep apnea tests.

The polysomnography test is the gold standard for detecting sleep apnea but is intrusive and requires wires and tubes attached to the patient when sleeping to undergo the test. The home sleep apnea test, despite being comfortable, does not detect all cases of sleep apnea.

Treatment For Sleep Apnea

If you visit the dentist in Roswell, GA, for the diagnosis, you must undergo the sleep apnea diagnosis from a sleep medicine specialist. While medical professionals will suggest a CPAP or BPAP device to overcome the challenges encountered by sleep apnea, dentists like Dr. Judd Shenk will offer you a portable oral appliance that is comfortable to use and effectively deals with this problem. Compared to the CPAP or BPAP devices, the oral device pioneered by dentists is customized for your mouth and helps to keep your lower jaw in a forward position allowing you to breathe comfortably.

You may hear various treatment modalities being offered in TV commercials or the print media for sleep apnea. It is advised that you overlook the information and remain confident that your dentist can help you get a good night’s sleep with the oral appliance pioneered by them.

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