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Understanding Sleep Apnea

Are You Experiencing These Signs Of Sleep Apnea?

Daytime fatigue • Morning headaches • Loud snoring • Increased heart rate • Anxiety Depression • Excessive daytime sleepiness • Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep 

Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking • Awakening with a dry mouth or a sore throat • Difficulty concentrating during the day • High blood pressure • Nighttime sweating • Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability

If you’re experiencing these common signs more frequently or been told that you are, contact us for a complimentary evaluation. We are experts in sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea and will help you understand more about the condition and solutions that can work for you.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. People suffering from sleep apnea are often unaware that these episodes are occurring. There are two types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the body to breathe. Central sleep apnea must be treated by a medical specialist.

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and occurs when there is a physical block to the flow of air, and affects one in five Americans. This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired throughout the day even if you feel you had a full night of sleep.

Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are available. One treatment involves using a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep. The option we specialize in is a custom-fit oral appliance that positions your jaw forward during sleep so that your airway remains more open. 

 Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.  

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Apnea literally means “cessation of breath”. In other words, apnea occurs when you stop breathing. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is simply when your airway becomes obstructed during sleep, causing you to stop breathing. The human upper airway is surrounded by muscles. The largest of these muscles is the tongue. When we are awake we have tightness, or tonicity, in our upper airway muscles, but during sleep, these muscles relax.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when we breathe during sleep, the throat and upper airway muscles relax and may begin to vibrate (this vibration is what causes snoring). Eventually, these muscles relax even more and can collapse into the airway, effectively closing your throat and prohibiting air from flowing into your lungs. When your airway collapses and you stop breathing, your body responds as if you are suffocating. Your brain realizes that you are not receiving oxygen from your lungs and arouses you from deeper stages of sleep (where rest occurs) to a lighter stage of sleep. By moving to a lighter stage of sleep, your brain is able to contract your throat and upper airways muscles to open your airway and help you resume breathing.

This tightening of your upper airways muscles helps force open your airway and allow air and oxygen to flow into your lungs so you do not suffocate. This cycle of suffocation (apnea) and arousal to breath can happen hundreds of times a night. In most cases, you do not awaken completely, so you may not even realize this is happening to you every night!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, mental impairment, cardiovascular problems, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, impotence, acid reflux, and a multitude of other undesirable side effects. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious and progressive condition that can lead to serious health problems and even death if left untreated.

How Our Team Designs Your Treatment

Dr. Kalmanovich and his team will review your sleep center evaluation or home sleep test along with your most recent dental records. Then they will be able to determine whether a custom-fit oral appliance can help you address your Obstructive Sleep Apnea condition.