If you wake up in the morning feeling tired or groggy, suddenly awake in the middle of the night gasping for air, or your partner tells you your snoring is loud and frequent, it may be due to sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can be serious as sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, impotence, sore muscles, diabetes and grogginess. Additionally, sleep apnea has also been linked to TMJ disorders and tooth grinding.
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from at least ten seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Each abnormally shallow breathing event is called a hypopnea. Sleep apnea is often diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or sleep study.
There are three forms of sleep apnea: central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), and complex or mixed sleep apnea (a combination of central and obstructive). In CSA, breathing is interrupted by a lack of respiratory effort; in OSA, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort, and snoring is usual.
Regardless of type, an individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body. Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.
Our team has the knowledge and technology to treat sleep apnea and maintain a harmonious bite for our patients. Dr. Keyser is trained to preform a series of tests to conclude whether or not you indeed have sleep apnea. Treatment options vary depending on the patient. Treatments frequently include a custom two piece sleep appliance, which allow patients to drink and speak easily with the device in place. Our team can help you overcome OSA with a custom orthotic sleep appliance.
Certain behavior changes may also lessen the severity of sleep apnea. Obesity can increase the changes of sleep apnea, and losing weight may help keep the upper airway open. Patients may also be asked to avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine a few hours before bedtime.