Sleep apnea is a debilitating and sometimes fatal sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea. The most common types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common form of apnea that occurs when throat muscles relax while you sleep, closing off a portion of your airway.
- Central sleep apnea: This type occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea, and central sleep apnea.
The symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: Loud snoring, episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep (which would be reported by another person), gasping for air during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep (insomnia), excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), difficulty paying attention while awake, and irritability.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition. Complications can include: daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, metabolic syndrome, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, increased waist circumference, type 2 diabetes, complications with medications and surgery, liver problems, and sleep-deprived partners.
An evaluation for Sleep apnea involves overnight monitoring at a sleep center of your breathing and other body functions during sleep or home sleep testing. Tests to detect sleep apnea include:
- Nocturnal polysomnography. During this test, monitors are attached to you that record your heart, lung, and brain activity. Your breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels are also recorded while you sleep.
- Home sleep tests. Your dentist can provide you with a simplified testing machine to be used at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests usually measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns, and loudness and frequency of snoring.
- Continuous positive airway pressure Traditional CPAP, or an auto CPAP device.
- Oral appliances – Mandibular Advancement Devices. These appliances are custom made to fit your mouth and are supplied by your Dentist.
- Surgical treatment.
Stowe Family Dentistry provides a home sleep study monitor for our patients to use. The results of which are diagnosed by a certified sleep study physician. We also provide appropriate treatment of oral sleep devices, for patients who cannot tolerate a C-Pap device, and for patients whose diagnosis allows for alternatives to the C-Pap.
If you think you may have problems with snoring or sleeping, call our office for a consultation.
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