What is Sleep Apnea?
The Greek word “apnea” means “without breath.” There are three types of sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea is a condition where the brain does not send a signal to the body to breathe.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where there is a physical obstruction to inhibit breathing.
- The last type of sleep apnea is mixed, where there is an obstruction to breathing and a brain signal issue.
The obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. Read more….
In all three types, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing or breath insufficiently to keep their blood oxygen saturation up.
This can occur hundreds of time an hour. Each time it occurs, the brain arouses the individual to resume “normal” breathing. This results in interrupted and poor quality sleep.
Sleep apnea is very common. One out of four adults has sleep apnea, and the odds get higher as you get older. Forty percent of snorers have sleep apnea. Risk factors include males, overweight, diabetics, and high blood pressure. Take the Sleepiness Test to find out if you are likely to have sleep apnea.
What happens if it is untreated?
Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, stroke, acid reflux, weight gain, impotency, memory problems, and headaches. The average life of an untreated apneic is about 55 years if they have had it all their life, but once they get past that hurdle, they are safe from death, but not from misery.
How is Sleep Apnea treated?
The first step is diagnosis. We will refer you to a sleep center to
have a polysomnogram performed. This will most likely take place in
the sleep center where you will spend the night. The polysomnogram records brain waves, breathing, movements, oxygen saturation in your blood, heart rate, and rhythm. Although, this is a lot to record, nothing hurts and no needles are used. This will allow us to determine if you have sleep apnea, how severe it is, and what kind of treatment is necessary.
The treatment may involve the use of a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) device or a dental appliance to wear at night while sleeping. The CPAP keeps your airway open by forcing air into your throat, and the dental appliance keeps your airway open by holding your lower jaw slightly forward. Your sleep physician and Cincinnati dentist, Dr. Hedge, will determine what is best for you.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been prescribed to wear a CPAP and just can’t do it (60% cannot), then a dental appliance is the next best thing. Read more…
Do you have sleep apnea?
Six questions for sleep apnea
These questions can help you and your physician figure out if you should be tested for sleep apnea. Circle your answers, tally up the points next to them, and see what the total means in the scoring section. Read more…
“Blessings on him who first invented sleep. It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak. It is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, cold for the hot. It makes the shepherd equal to the monarch, and the fool to be the wise. There is but one evil in it, and that is that it resembles death, since between a dead man and a sleeping man, there is but little difference.”
from Don Quixote