Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which one pauses breathing or takes shallow breaths while sleeping.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. Sleep Apnea can occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breaths start again, with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep apnea usually is a chronic condition that disrupts one's sleep. It is not possible to reach deep sleep enough times during the night in this case - resulting in poor sleep quality and tiredness during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member and/or bed partner may be the first to notice the signs of sleep apnea. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When one tries to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause lout snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. Small children may have enlarged tonsils which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
Untreated, sleep apnea can:
- increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes
- increase the risk of heart failure
- make arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, more likely
- increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Management for sleep apnea includes: lifestyle changes, CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine or oral appliances. Some patients do well with CPAP machines but there are some inconveniences, such as: difficulty to get used to the constant pressure of air that gets pushed in the airway; one is attached to the unit and it makes movement in bed or out of bed inconvenient; bulky machinery to travel with. Oral appliances can help by advancing the lower jaw and simultaneously advancing the tongue which in turn opens the airway while asleep.
Dr. Atanase has the training to make very comfortable oral appliances to help in the management of sleep apnea.
Call our Chatham, NJ office for a consultation: 973-635-0626.
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