Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

woman_snor1-289x300Sleep Apnea is a common condition that affects about 20 million Americans. Sleep Apnea interrupts breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur over 30 times an hour. After a pause, normal breathing will usually resume, often with a loud snort or choking sound. During these pauses, your brain does not receive sufficient oxygen and so wakes the body up, partly or fully, to resume breathing. This means that sleep apnea suffers do not achieve the deep REM sleep they need to stay healthy and feel rested. If you live in Dallas, Fort Worth or DFW, our Southlake office is able to help you with a custom treatment that can help you get a good night’s rest.

What Is Snoring?

Snoring is a condition that occurs when your breathing is somewhat or partially obstructed during your normal sleep cycle. The result-Loud, obnoxious sounds that can disturb your spouse, and cause you to lose a good night sleep.
Snoring is very common, affecting up to 50% of the U.S. population. It occurs when air rushes past the relaxed tissues in your throat, causing it to vibrate when you breathe.
Many patients can control snoring by losing weight, cutting back on alcoholic beverages, and using CPAP or an oral sleep guard. As many as half of adults snore sometimes. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, which creates those irritating sounds.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep causing shallow breathing or pauses in breathing. If air can get past the blockage, it can cause loud snoring. This type of sleep apnea can affect anyone but is more common in people who are overweight.
Our office is conveniently located in Southlake, and treats patients from the great Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex. We’ve been helping patients in DFW for over 20 years!
Symptoms
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because about 90% of sufferers don’t notice a problem while they are sleeping. Instead the signs and symptoms are noticeable during the waking hours and may include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Morning headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Frequent nocturnal urination
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Large neck size

Most often it is a person’s sleeping partner who notices symptoms such as:

  • Lack of breathing
  • Deep gasps or choking sounds
  • And/or loud snoring.

Serious Risks
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.

Treatment Options

Oral Appliances are 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.