Sleep Apnea

Good Health Starts with a Good Night’s Sleep

If breathing stops repeatedly during sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects 22 million people in the US alone. The effects of sleep apnea range from mild irritability to death. There are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea.

Not everyone with sleep apnea will display all of the signs and symptoms. If you are concerned, it’s best to be proactive and have an examination.

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All three share the same characteristics of:

  • Snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Your partner noticing you stop breathing during sleep
  • Waking up with dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Easily distracted during the day

I’m concerned about my or my partner’s sleep

The Three Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive, Central and Complex

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is the most common kind of apnea and is the result of throat muscles relaxing, closing off the airway. When the airway is blocked you stop breathing. When your brain realizes it’s not getting enough oxygen it will cause you to wake up. This sleep/wake cycle can happen so much during the night you never reach deep sleep.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the signal from your brain does not reach the muscles that control your breathing.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Who’s at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea.

There are several risk factors, some modifiable and some not, that contribute to sleep apnea risk.

Obesity

If you are overweight and or have excess weight in your neck, it can put you at higher risk for apnea.

Gender

Men have double to triple the risk for sleep disordered breathing.

Neck size

If you have a large neck circumference the excess weight can cause an obstructed airway.

Family history

If you have a family history of sleep apnea, you are more likely to suffer yourself.

Smoking

Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than non-smokers.

Age

Older people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

Narrow airway

If you have a naturally narrow airway it makes breathing more difficult.

Use of drugs or alcohol

Alcohol and certain drugs cause muscles to relax. This can lead to an obstructed airway.

I’d like to discuss my sleep with a doctor

How Can Sleep Apnea Impact My Life?

There are many ways sleep apnea affects you and those around you.

When you don’t get enough of the right kind of sleep, you can suffer from:

Fatigue

Waking up to 30 times an hour because of OSA it means you’re not getting enough sleep, even if you don’t wake up all the way, your brain doesn’t get the kind of sleep it needs. You might notice you are tired during the day. You might be irritable or feel depressed. You may experience mood swings and have trouble concentrating at work or school. Daytime fatigue can be dangerous when driving or if your job requires you to operate heavy machinery.

Diabetes

People with OSA are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is in itself dangerous to your health but is also linked to heart problems, obesity and stroke among other things.

Heart attack and stroke

Sleep apnea causes excess strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. Because of this you are at higher risk for high blood pressure. It can also put you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. You are especially at risk if you have already had a heart attack in the past.

Difficulty with surgery or anesthesia

If you already have difficulty breathing you could experience problems with breathing after surgery or when under general anesthesia.

Nonacoholic fatty liver disease

Sufferers of OSA are at higher risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Frustrated family members and partners

If you are snoring and waking up often, chances are good your partner is not getting the rest they need either. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability and other problems listed prior. It is also hard on a relationship if one partner has to sleep in a different bed or room.

Rest Easier with Sleep Apnea Treatment

We’ll help you get a good night’s rest

There are many options available to help people who suffer from OSA, however it is important to have a formal diagnosis before you begin any kind of treatment. Diagnosing OSA requires a sleep test, either at home or at a sleep clinic. Once you have been diagnosed with OSA we can discuss treatment options.

Continuous positive airway pressure machine

The most popular treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). There are different models, but the fundamentals are the same. During sleep you wear a mask over your nose and mouth that forces oxygen into your lungs. While effective, these machines can be uncomfortable and loud. Over time people get used to them, but they aren’t without their challenges.

Oral Appliances

A less invasive, and for some, easier to use daily is an oral appliance. Much like a mouth guard, oral appliances are plastic and fit over the top and bottom teeth. They are connected by a piece of plastic that keeps the jaw separated, and prevents the tongue from slipping back in the throat.

Silent Night Snore Guard

Comfort H/S™ Bite Splints

I’m interested in discussing my sleep or snoring with a doctor