Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep related breathing problem that is relatively common and potentially has serious consequences, such as heart disease, strokes and excessive daytime sleepiness. The condition occurs when the muscles that control the tongue and soft palate relax. The relaxation allows the airway to narrow which in turn can lead to snoring and breathing difficulties. The airway can then collapse, become blocked, and cause obstructed breathing.
Some symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, depression, fatigue, choking or gasping for breath, hypertension, obesity, memory loss, impaired concentration, irritability, and decreased sex drive.
Final diagnosis is by an overnight sleep study polysomnogram (PSG) or by a home sleep test (HST). Your physician would make a referral for these tests.
Treatment options include:
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
This involves wearing a mask during your sleep. The mask is attached by a tube to a pump that generates air pressure that helps hold your airway open.
- An oral appliance.
This is a custom made device that fits over your teeth and is made to move the lower jaw slightly forward. The appliance is made to hold the airway open while you sleep. Many find the appliance more comfortable than the CPAP. In a team approach with your physician, we direct the fabrication of these appliances, help you with the use and maintenance, and monitor the success.
Procedures intended to create a more open airway so obstructions are less likely to occur.
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