Sleep Apnea is a serious condition with very real risks. Left untreated it can lead to a decreased quality of life and have severe consequences.
Untreated sleep apnea can:
Increase your risk for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and premature death.
Increase your risk for, or worsen, heart failure.
Make you more likely to experience arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.
Oral Appliancesare small plastic devices that fit into the mouth during sleep and open the airway by bringing the jaw or the tongue forward. There are a variety of these devices and they are available through qualified orthodontists. They are a good option for patients who cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP, or those who wish for a quieter or less invasive approach. Many patients benefit from this treatment option.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common and successful treatment for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a small mask over the nose while sleeping. The mask allows air is to be gently forced through the nasal passages and into the throat to hold it open to enable normal breathing and restful sleep. The CPAP is a good solution for most patients. Others experience symptoms that interfere with their ability to use the CPAP such as, congestion, dryness of the mouth, skin irritation, or mask air leaks. Most of these issues can be overcome by working with your doctor.
Surgery can be used as a treatment when physical problems are interfering with breathing during sleep. These can include but are not limited to: deviated nasal septums, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or a recessed jaw.