Patients ask, “What are sleep apnea symptoms and treatment options in Willoughby Hills?”
Do you snore, disrupt your partner at night, or wake up exhausted? Snoring, restless sleep, and feeling tired throughout the day are symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects over 22 million Americans. Many are walking around tired, unaware that they even have this problem. At Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC in Willoughby Hills, we offer sleep apnea treatment options to help our patients sleep better and improve their quality of life.
Sleep apnea symptoms and causes
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when there is a blockage in the upper airway during sleep. This causes breaks or pauses in breathing. The pauses last more than 10 seconds each and occur multiple times per hour. OSA ranges from mild to severe depending on the number of pauses each hour.
Each break in breathing disrupts the flow of oxygen. The patient does not get enough oxygen and the body is forced to work harder to get oxygen into the lungs. When breathing pauses, the brain recognizes a problem and reacts by sending out a burst of adrenaline. This burst causes snorting, choking, or snoring sounds as the individual catches his/her breath again. This is a cycle of breathing pauses and catching the breath that repeats over and over, often several times per hour.
Snoring does not automatically mean a patient has sleep apnea. The two are not the same. However, chronic snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects the whole body. Undiagnosed and untreated, the condition worsens and increases the chances of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea symptoms may include the following:
- Morning headaches
- Excessive tiredness throughout the day
- Sleeping during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems with memory
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Feeling moody or depressed
Sleep apnea is more commonly found in adults, but it can affect patients of all ages. OSA is caused by a blockage at the back of the throat. This is usually due to soft tissue collapsing during sleep. When the soft tissues keep air from moving properly through the airway, they vibrate. This creates the snorting sounds associated with snoring. There are certain risk factors that increase the risk of developing OSA. Risk factors may include:
- Large neck
- Enlarged tongue or tonsils
- Small jaw size
- Nasal obstruction
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Family history
Sleep apnea treatment options
Patients who have any of the above symptoms of sleep apnea should consult a professional for proper diagnosis. Sleep apnea can cause additional health problems if left undiagnosed and untreated. A sleep study helps determine the severity of sleep apnea. Once the condition has been properly diagnosed, an appropriate treatment plan can be developed. The treatment used depends upon the severity of the condition.
Many doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. A CPAP machine requires the patient to wear a mask over the nose and mouth. Forced air pressure flowing through the machine keeps the airway open while the individual sleeps. The continuous air pressure keeps the airway from collapsing. There are different mask options. The masks may fit over the nose and mouth, only over the nose, or prongs that fit into the nose. CPAP machines are effective. However, they are bulky, difficult to travel with, and uncomfortable.
At Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC, we offer alternative sleep apnea treatments. Our oral appliances are customized and created individually for each patient. Oral appliances are similar to mouth guards. This comfortable alternative fits around the teeth to slightly move the jaw forward and the tongue down. This shift in mouth position helps keep the airway open so the individual can breathe freely while sleeping. A better breathing pattern results in sleeping more soundly and a better quality of life. Oral appliances are appropriate for patients with mild to moderate OSA.
Compared to CPAP machines, the advantages of oral appliances include:
- Patient comfort
- Small, not bulky
- No mask
- Portable, easy to travel
- Easy to clean and care for