Do you snore? Gasp for air? Feel tired during the day? Suffer from migraines? Have a history of diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure?
These are just some of the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. We are now equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea at Swiss Quality Smile. We can make an evaluation based on your signs, symptoms and sleep history. Once your risk factors are determined we can refer you to have a sleep test. During your at-home sleep test you will be evaluated for sleep apnea. The tests will measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. From there we can decide together whether a snore device, sleep apnea device or CPAP is right for you.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common form that occurs when throat muscles relax. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can’t get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it. You might snort, choke or gasp. This pattern can repeat itself 5 to 30 times or more each hour, all night, impairing your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.
- Central sleep apnea: which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. This less common form of sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. This means that you make no effort to breathe for a short period. You might awaken with shortness of breath or have a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome: which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
The most common signs and 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
Factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea include:
- Excess weight – Obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing.
- Neck circumference – People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.
- A narrowed airway – You might have inherited a narrow throat. Tonsils or adenoids also can enlarge and block the airway, particularly in children.
- Being male – Men are 3x more likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, women increase their risk if they’re overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.
- Being older -Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
- Family history – Having family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers – These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea.
- Smoking – Smokers are 3x more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who’ve never smoked. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
- Nasal congestion – If you have difficulty breathing through your nose whether from an anatomical problem or allergies you’re more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Once you have had your at home sleep test and the results are in there are different ways we can combat sleep apnea:
- Oral appliances – For patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open can usually do the trick. They are designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, which can relieve snoring and mild/moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, you will benefit from using a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep. With CPAP, the air pressure keeps your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.
- Combination Therapy – using a combination of oral appliance with CPAP or alternating between a CPAP and oral appliance.
Complications of Sleep Apnea if left untreated include:
- High blood pressure – drops in blood oxygen levels increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Sleep apnea increases your risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke and abnormal heartbeats.
- Type 2 diabetes. Having sleep apnea increases your risk of higher levels of glucose, decreased physical activity and higher body fat.
- Erectile dysfunction. insufficient sleep can reduce testosterone levels and libido as well as decreased blood flow to extremities.
- Obesity. This disorder, which includes high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar and an increased waist circumference, is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
- Acid Reflux/GERD.
- Daytime fatigue. The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible, making severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability likely. Difficulty concentrating and finding yourself falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents.
- Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep anyone who sleeps near you from getting good rest. It’s not uncommon for a partner to have to go to another room, or even to another floor of the house, to be able to sleep.
- Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea might be more likely to have complications after major surgery because they’re prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs.
DON’T BE SHY AND ASK US ABOUT IT AT YOUR NEXT VISIT!
Call us today at 310-208-3125 to schedule a consultation with our experienced dentist, Dr. Ilona Casellini, and learn more about sleep apnea treatment in Los Angeles, California.