Experienced Buffalo Orthodontists Providing Orthodontic Strategies for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Not being able to get a good night’s sleep because of snoring can be frustrating. Snoring can be a sign of something more serious. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and potentially fatal consequences on your health due to the lowering of blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
Find out how our orthodontic treatment can significantly increase air flow and help you get a better nights sleep.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to either stop breathing or their breaths become extremely shallow during sleep. Sleep apnea affects 22 million Americans. These shallow breaths or the lack of breathing can last seconds or minutes. Normal breathing often restarts with a choking or snoring noise. Sleep apnea can cause you to feel unrested even if you slept for seven hours or more. This is because the symptoms of sleep apnea often causes patients to leave their deep sleep and enter into a lighter sleep.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
There are some common signs of sleep apnea. Some you may notice and some you may not notice in yourself.
- Unusually loud snoring.
- You stop breathing during your sleep. This is a sign that somebody else will usually notice first.
- You wake up suddenly feeling short of breath.
- You wake up with an unusually dry mouth or with a sore throat.
- You wake up every morning with a headache.
- You struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep (or you struggle with both).
- You are excessively tired during the day.
- You struggle to pay attention during the day.
- You’re irritable.
If you have these signs or if someone in your family tells you that they’ve noticed them in you, you should contact our experienced orthodontist to arrange a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your concerns, and formulate a plan to help improve your breathing at night.
Are There Different Types of Sleep Apnea?
There are three different types of sleep apnea. The first type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is the most commonly diagnosed type of sleep apnea. Studies suggest that only about 10% of people with OSA receive medical treatment. This is because the majority of OSA sufferers are often undiagnosed. OSA occurs when part or all of the airway is blocked during sleep. This may happen because the tongue rolls toward the back of the mouth or because a patient has an excess of fatty tissue that blocks the throat. OSA diagnoses range from mild, moderate, or severe.
- Mild OSA means that the sufferer experiences between 5 and 14 interruptions each hour during their sleep cycle.
- Moderate OSA means that the sufferer experiences 15 to 30 interruptions each hour during their sleep cycle.
- Severe OSA means that the sufferer experiences 30 or more interruptions each hour during their sleep cycle.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) isn’t caused by your airway getting blocked by your tongue or other fatty tissue. Instead, CSA occurs when your brain doesn’t send the message to your muscles to keep breathing. Your brain is part of your central nervous symptom. Your brain isn’t communicating properly when you’re asleep to keep you breathing normally. CSA isn’t as common as OSA. It is a side effect of a brain injury or a medical issue that affects the brain. With CSA, a common symptom is mood swings.
The third type is complex sleep apnea. This means that you have a combination of OSA and CSA. Healthcare professionals will usually diagnose complex sleep apnea after a sleep study that shows a patient has signs of each.
What Are the Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea?
Risk factors vary depending on the type of sleep apnea. However, some factors are common with all three types. Risk factors for OSA include:
- Being overweight. This can cause an increase in fatty tissue that restricts the flow of air as you sleep.
- Your age. As we get older, we lose muscle tone even in our throats. Since the muscles are weaker, they can collapse over the airway and make it harder to breathe when you are sleeping.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can block your airway.
- Frequent use of intoxicants can cause the throat muscles to relax and block the airway during sleep.
- Smoking can cause irritation to your airway and make it harder to breathe.
- Family history.
CSA risk factors include:
- Parkinson’s Disease.
- Brain infection.
- Use of narcotics.
- Heart failure.
- Being overweight.
- Atrial fibrillation.
- Sleeping at higher altitudes.
- Brain tumor.
- Use of opioid medication.
Complex sleep apnea includes the risk factors of both OSA and CSA.
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Sleep apnea can be very dangerous, and potentially fatal. It deprives our bodies of the oxygen we need to function properly. When this happens, we suffer more than a poor night’s sleep or fatigue during the day. Untreated, sleep apnea can cause numerous health problems. Sometimes, the symptoms of sleep apnea are signs of an underlying health condition.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure. For people who develop high blood pressure because of sleep apnea, the former usually gets better once they start treatment for the latter. It can also lead to heart disease and heart attacks. This is attributed to the heart getting the oxygen that it needs and from the stress of not sleeping.
Another complication of untreated sleep apnea is diabetes. Although there’s not a direct link between the two at this time, the common symptom of obesity is a link between the two diseases. Many healthcare professionals believe that lack of sleep can cause you to become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a warning sign of the onset of diabetes in the future.
Sleep apnea can cause or exacerbate many mental health problems. The lack of sleep can cause you to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also cause current mental illnesses to become more pronounced. Don’t let it go untreated, contact us today to find out how orthodontic care can help.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Treatment ultimately depends on which form of sleep apnea you are diagnosed with. OSA has several treatments. Some treatments are more conservative than others. It may be treated by use of a CPAP, an APAP, or a BIPAP machine. These machines force air through your airway while you are sleeping. This is known as positive airway pressure (PAP). Your doctor may prescribe the use of an oral appliance. An oral appliance is something that a patient wears in their mouth while they sleep. The two main types hold your jaws in a certain position and hold your tongue in a certain position. The objective of both is to keep your airway from becoming blocked. For severe OSA, surgery may also be an option.
Central sleep apnea is often treated with a CPAP or BPAP. Another option is an ASV. An ASV is an Adaptive-servo ventilation device. It makes automatic adjustments to compensate for any abnormal breathing patterns the patient may have when they are asleep. Medications may also be prescribed to people who have CSA. Usually, medications are not prescribed unless positive airway pressure doesn’t work.
Complex sleep apnea treatments will ultimately depend on which symptoms you exhibit. We can help develop a custom plan to treat your CSA. Contact us today to arrange your free consultation.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone in My Family Suffers from Sleep Apnea?
If you believe that someone in your family is suffering from sleep apnea, you should keep a list of the symptoms they are experiencing, and when they occur. Then, talk to the person about the benefits of being evaluated by our experienced Buffalo orthodontists. We offer free consultations and would be happy to help you on the road to a good nights sleep.
Can Sleep Apnea Kill You?
There have been studies done to show that issues with sleeping while breathing can have some serious health consequences. You can not only have issues with you breathing, but also with your heart. If left untreated it has been shown that sleep apnea can result in death.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?
There are a lot of symptoms of sleep apnea. Some of the most common are loud or frequent snoring, choking or gasping sounds, silent pauses while breathing along with insomnia and daytime fatigue or sleepiness. You can also wake up with a headache and feel as if you did not get a refreshing amount of sleep. Irritability along with difficulty concentrating is common as well.
What Happens with Untreated Sleep Apnea?
If you have sleep apnea and you leave it untreated it is possible for you to have life-shortening and serious consequences. These include high blood pressure, automobile accidents, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and more.
How Can You Cure Sleep Apnea?
You can treat sleep apnea by wearing an oral/dental appliance. You can even have surgery which can eliminate or reduce the extra tissue you have in your throat that blocks your airways while you’re sleeping. You can try positional therapy which can help some individuals but not all.
Does Sleep Apnea Ever Go Away?
If you are an individual who is overweight and suffering from sleep apnea you could get rid of your sleep apnea by losing weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight can have a large effect on the symptoms you experience from sleep apnea. For individuals who are not overweight losing weight will not make the condition go away.
Does Sleeping Upright Help Sleep Apnea?
For some people they have decreased sleep apnea if the head of their bed is elevated. This is possible when using a specific pillow called a sleep wedge pillow. It is a piece of foam that is highest at the head of the bed. You can even get adjustable beds which can help sleep apnea when the head of the bed is raised and can help apnea along with eliminate snoring.
How Many Apneas Per Hour Is Normal?
If you are someone who has a normal sleep, you should have less than 5 apneas within an hour. You are considered to have mild sleep apnea if you have five to 14 events per hour. Moderate sleep apnea is 15 to 29 events in an hour and severe is considered 30 or more within an hour.
What Are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?
When you have sleep apnea you are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, stroke, recurrent heart attacks and abnormal heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation. You are also at risk for weight gain. When you have sleep apnea it is also harder to lose weight. When you are overweight, you can have your breathing blocked at night from fatty deposits in your neck.
What’s New in Sleep Apnea Treatment?
There are many options within sleep apnea treatment. One option is positive airway pressure devices. These are used with many different kinds of breathing masks. Usually this option is for people who suffer from severe and moderate sleep apnea. There have also been many advancements when looking at oral appliances for sleep apnea as well.
How Much Does A CPAP Machine Cost?
On average a CPAP machine ranges from $500-$3,000. When looking at the estimated average price you’re looking at spending around $850. There are some insurance companies who do cover the costs of BiPAP bilevel and PAP devices. Usually the hose, mask, tubing and filters are all included.
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Orthodontists Associates of Western New York is proud to offer sleep apnea treatment throughout Buffalo, Lancaster, Olean, Hamburg, Orchard Park, and Dunkirk, New York. If you or a loved one is having trouble sleeping, please contact one of our 5 convenient orthodontic offices to arrange a free consultation. We are committed to helping you improve your health, and maintain a good nights sleep.