Sleep Apnea Treatment
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe condition that affects nearly 25 million people in the U.S. This condition causes people to stop breathing sometimes hundreds of times per night for a period of a few seconds to several minutes, due to a fully or partially collapsed airway. As you could imagine this greatly decreases the benefits of sleep that our body needs to function properly, leading to increased daytime sleepiness and low energy levels.
More importantly, when you stop breathing at night your brains lack of oxygen sends a message to your heart to increase blood flow to the brain. Over time this can lead to severe increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and congestive heart failure. This is the reason why sleep apnea can take up to 12-15 years off of a persons’ life.
Who Is At Risk?
Anyone who snores, has daytime fatigue, is overweight, has acid reflux, morning headaches, diabetes, or has high blood pressure. The good news is that many of the above symptoms or conditions can be eliminated or greatly reduced with proper treatment of sleep apnea.
There is also a strong link between sleep apnea and jaw joint pain. If someone has untreated sleep apnea they will constantly clench their lower jaw forward during the night trying to breath. Over time this stretches the discs in our jaw joint and breaks our teeth down. Therefore, if you have TMJ pain, you must control the sleep apnea before treating the TMJ pain. Otherwise, the TMJ pain will persist.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a sleep physician based on a sleep study, which monitors your oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing rate, and much more throughout the night. These tests can be done at a sleep center, but many people can use a portable monitor to take the study in the comfort of their home. Until recently the most common treatment was the use of a CPAP machine, where a mask fits over your nose and mouth providing you with continuous airflow during night. Recently, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognized oral appliances as a first line therapy for mild and moderate sleep apnea.
Dr. Will Yoder has taken hours of advanced continuing education in the area of sleep medicine and prides himself on being able to offer this life-changing service to patients. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Yoder. He works closely with local sleep physicians to ensure safe and effective treatment plans are developed.