What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by an obstructed airway.
The airway in those who do not snore or have apnea remains open during sleep.
The airway in those who have obstructive sleep apnea collapses during sleep.
Since no air is moving through the airway, there are no snoring sounds. At the end of the apnea phase, a person typically gasps or snorts as air starts flowing again. Thus, it is possible to have sleep apnea without snoring.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
There are options for treating sleep anpea. The CPAP device, which continues positive “airwaves pressure”, is considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. For those of us who can not tolerate the CPAP device there are FDA approved mandibular advancement devices available for treatment.
“Oral appliance therapy is an accepted treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but as with any treatment option many factors may determine its effectiveness, including the severity of the sleep disordered breathing and the individual patient’s medical history.”
-ASAA (American Sleep Apnea Association)
The Importance of Testing
Testing will enable you to find out which treatment option is right for you. Receiving treatment will improve your breathing, your health and your life.
The risks of untreated sleep apnea include:
- Higher incidence of acid reflux (GERD), high blood pressure, and/or diabetes.
- Reduced life span (by as much as 6-15 years)
- Increased medical care costs (by as much as 3 times the normal costs)
- Significantly more likely to be involved in an accident at home, work or while driving (estimates suggest 30-50% of car accidents are due to sleep apnea)
- More prone to strokes and heart attacks because of increased cholesterol
- 3-5 times more likely to develop cancer with moderate to severe apnea
- Subject to an increased rick of dementia (due to hypoxia)
When sleep apnea is treated, many chronic conditions are resolved. Studies show that heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity and fatigue are alleviated and quality of life may be greatly improved.
In most instances, insurance will cover a simple, comfortable home sleep test. The home sleep test takes less than five minutes to set up. It’s quiet, comfortable, and you can sleep in the comfort of your own bed. Your regular routine at home will provide your physician optimal data to better diagnose you or your loved one.
Sleep Lab Test
Historically sleep apnea would be diagnosed following an in-lab sleep study, or polysomnography (PSG), performed overnight in a clinical sleep center. This test monitors brain activity, as well as breathing, pulse, and oxygen levels.