Sleep Apnea, so What?
- Posted on: May 15 2017
People who snore may think there is little, if anything, they can do to get a good night’s sleep. Little do they know that their snoring problem is the least of their concerns. Snoring is a common condition affecting nearly 90 million people in our country. It is so prevalent that the cues to a more serious problem may be missed. We’re talking about sleep apnea, the silent disorder that is behind approximately 450,000 deaths each year.
Is sleep apnea a big deal? Yes! Let’s take a closer look at why.
What is sleep apnea?
This sleep disorder is not snoring, though it may look like it. When a person snores, the movement of air through the throat and upper airway is challenged, usually by soft tissue hanging into the opening. The sound that one makes when snoring is the result of vibration in that soft tissue. When a person has sleep apnea (apnea meaning “without breath”), the soft tissue in the throat does more than narrow the airway, it closes it.
One of the telltale indicators of sleep apnea is a loud choke or gasp after a period of silence, and then a return to loud snoring or heavy breathing. The choking or gasping occurs in response to the jolt of adrenaline produced by the brain that is screaming for oxygen. Adrenaline rouses the sleeper, but usually not so much that he or she wakes. The intent behind this chemical process is to restore breathing and nothing more.
The Need for Treatment
There are several reasons to obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for sleep apnea. There are at least 450,000 reasons! In addition to causing deaths each year, this condition is also related to chronic and serious health conditions such as hypertension, stroke, and high blood pressure.
The question is not whether to seek treatment, but which treatment to choose. CPAP therapy is the standard medical approach to sleep apnea, but may not be well-tolerated by every person. The sensation of claustrophobia may cause a patient to remove the mask that sends pressurized air into the throat.
Dr. Marshall, who has extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry, offers a therapeutic alternative for patients who are CPAP intolerant, or who simply want another option. The use of a custom-fit oral appliance to align jaw position during sleep can restore breathing, which can restore sleep, which can restore health.
Learn more about oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. Call our Ardmore office at (610) 649-0696.
Posted in: Sleep Apnea