The apneic episodes happen when the airway opening is blocked while the patient is asleep. The culprit of the obstruction is the soft tissues at the back of the throat, which collapse when the patient is in a reclined position. A spouse or partner may notice that the patient snores loudly, which is a result of air passing through those soft tissues and creating noise. The partner may also detect the pauses in breathing. Patients who have sleep apnea may also frequently have sore throats, headaches or dry mouth in the morning. Many patients notice daytime drowsiness, mood changes and difficulty focusing or paying attention, too.
Certain traits or lifestyle factors can increase a person’s risk for having sleep apnea. These include obesity, male gender (although the risk for women increases after they have completed menopause), large neck circumference, having an atypically small lower jaw, large tonsils and hypothyroidism. You may also be more susceptible to sleep apnea if you drink alcohol before bedtime. Sedative or tranquilizer use can also increase a person’s risk of having sleep apnea, as can smoking.
Sleep apnea won’t just leave you feeling groggy and dragging through your day. It is associated with significant risks for your health, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and metabolic syndrome, among others. Sleep apnea may also contribute to a weakened immune system. Reducing your risk of these problems is another compelling reason to pursue sleep apnea treatment.
A full night’s sleep for both you and your partner. Wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Experience increased concentration, memory, focus and energy.
Avoid the health risks caused by untreated sleep apnea and live a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.
Sleep apnea often responds to oral appliance therapy, which prevents the conditions that cause airway blockage by holding the tongue or jaw in a forward position, keeping the soft tissues at the back of the throat out of the vicinity of the airway. The appliance feels similar to a mouthguard and is quite comfortable, which is why many patients prefer this treatment method over a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask that forces air into the airway to keep it open.
If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, call our office to schedule an evaluation. We can offer you effective treatment to eliminate your symptoms and reduce the health risks that have been linked to sleep apnea.