What is Sleep Apnea? Do You Know?
Approximately 80% of Americans have never asked this question and live with symptoms of sleep apnea? Typical symptoms look like:
- Frequent breaks of pauses in breathing
- Prolonged sleepiness
- Poor memory
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Frequent headaches in the morning
- Multiple nighttime bathroom trips
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or obese
Sleep apnea shouldn’t be accepted as a normal way of life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common condition and chronic disorder affecting millions, where while sleeping, patients repeatedly stop breathing during the night. Each pause in breathing is called “apnea” – meaning “no breath”. This pause typically lasts 10 seconds or longer and happens regularly throughout the night.
How Often Does It Happen?
Some experience 5 to 30 apnea episodes in one hour. When breathing is irregular, carbon dioxide builds in the bloodstream, triggering the brain to wake the sleeping person and resume breathing.
Why Does Sleep Apnea Happen?
When someone with obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA) sleeps, gravity and muscle relaxation allows the tongue and surrounding soft tissue to fall back into the throat area. This collapses the airway and obstructs the airflow. This condition is further complicated by excessive weight, loss of muscle tone due to aging or excessive tissue in the upper airway. Additionally, sleeping on your back or alcohol use may increase apnea events.
What Are The Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea consequences can be significant. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to several physical issues and diseases, as well as major health complications. (1) Other consequences of sleep apnea are:
- An 83% increase in drug-resistant hypertension
- A 77% increase in obesity
- A 76% increase in congestive heart failure
- A 59% increase in diabetes
- A 76% increase in coronary artery disease
What Are My Treatment Options?
The good news is OSA is a treatable condition and solutions exist to help patients around the world rest easier, feel better during the day, and reduce their risk of health complications.
Outside of weight loss where appropriate, two primary options exist for the treatment of sleep apnea:
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure): CPAP is administered through a CPAP machine, supplying pressurized air through a tube and into a mask worn over the nose, or sometimes over the nose and the mouth. The increased air pressure prevents the sleeper’s airway from collapsing during sleep.
- COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy): COAT is delivered via an oral device prescribed by a sleep physician and fitted by a dentist so it can be comfortably worn in the mouth. The device treats OSA by moving the lower jaw slightly forward, keeping the airway open.
How Do I Start My Treatment?
Getting started with treatment is easier than ever, and should look something like:
- Talk to your physician about your symptoms. If you don’t have a sleep physician, ask your primary care physician for a sleep physician referral.
- Your sleep physician will order a sleep study, and provide you with the diagnosis afterward.
- If diagnosed with mild-moderate sleep apnea, COAT is an option for you. A dentist will fit you with your device. Ask your dentist about any of our SomnoDent devices and discuss the sleep physician’s diagnosis
If you or your loved one struggles with sleep apnea, use this information to obtain relief. Let us know how we can help – contact a SomnoMed customer service representative at 888-447-6673.