Q: What is sleep apnea?
A: The Mayo clinic defines sleep apnea as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Apnea means without breath. You might have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full nights sleep, perhaps falling asleep frequently during the day (excessive sleepiness). Basically there are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central sleep apnea. With central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send signals to muscles to breathe and breathing ceases until the brain realizes the problem and kicks back into gear again. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and results when the muscles in the throat relax and air cannot make its way to the lungs.
Q: ls sleep apnea dangerous?
A: Short answer is YES. If not treated, you are at increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and death.
Q: How common is sleep apnea?
A: It is estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. ln other words, 1 in 5 adults suffer from some type of sleep apnea. It is estimated that more than 1 in 2 persons with diabetes suffer sleep apnea. One very scary fact is that 8 out of every 10 people who have sleep apnea have not been diagnosed for it.
Q: What are some of the common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?
- Loud snoring
- Choking or grasping during sleep
- Feeling tired, fatigued or sleepy during the day (EXCESSIVE SLEEPINESS)
Q: What are the treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
A: The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous airway pressure device called CPAP.
Q: Are there additional treatments?
A: Yes, dental appliances can be constructed to reposition the mandible (lower jaw) and allow airflow.
Q: Are dental devices successful?
A: Yes, 81% effective in mild obstructive sleep apnea.