Sleep Apnea

The Greek word "apnea" literally means "without breath.

Sleep apnea is a very common disorder and is very serious. In sleep apnea, your breathing stops or gets very shallow while you are sleeping. Each pause in your breathing if you have sleep apnea can last 10-20 seconds, and these pauses can occur up to 20 to 30 up to 90 times an hour! The dangers of snoring and sleep apnea are sometimes overlooked and left untreated. Sleep apnea is basically repetitive episodes of suffocation. According to recent studies people with mild apnea have a 300-500% increase in motor vehicle accidents involving serious injuries.

Why is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

People who suffer from heavy snoring and sleep apnea are deprived of necessary oxygen while they sleep. While it may not seem like a serious problem because the sleep apneic eventually wakes up to take the necessary breath of air, the lack of oxygen to the body can have lasting effects. Sometimes the body can experience as much as a 50% reduction in the amount of oxygen being taken in. This lack of oxygen can lead to many health problems including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Disruption in sleep cycle creates hormonal and metabolic consequences

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can lead to the following serious health/cognitive problems:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Memory impairment
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual deterioration

You may be suffering from sleep apnea if you suffer some combination of these symptoms:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to sleep through the night
  • Restlessness during the night
  • Short term memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Memory/concentration difficulties
  • Intellectual deterioration

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Treatment for sleep apnea varies with each patient's diagnosis, and treatment can be as simple as behavior and lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend a change in diet or weight loss. Cpap is considered the gold standard of treatment but is used by less than half of patients fitted for it.

Oral appliances are the best accepted form of treatment.

Surgery to prevent upper airway obstruction is available but is best used only after evaluating the effect of an oral appliance. The exception is opening of nasal airway and tonsil and adenoid removal in children.

Please contact Dr. Joseph Barton today to learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea see if we can help you get a good night's sleep.

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