Do you wake up in the morning and still feel tired? Have you been told you snore while you sleep? While these symptoms might not sound like a big deal, they are a warning sign of sleep apnea. For individuals who experience these symptoms often, their sleep and overall
health may be greatly affected by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common sleep-related breathing disorder.
At Sleep Matters, we believe understanding OSA is the first step toward finding a solution. Learn about this disorder and its symptoms, causes, and how our oral devices can help you easily achieve safe, uninterrupted sleep.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
OSA is a disorder that causes an individual to start and stop breathing while sleeping. It occurs
when a patient’s throat muscles relax too much during sleep, obstructing the airway and natural breathing cycle. When these muscles relax, an apnea event (which means you are not breathing) can occur. These events can last for 10 seconds or more, lowering oxygen in your blood and increasing carbon dioxide levels. Common signs and symptoms of OSA include:
● Excessive daytime sleepiness
● Loud snoring, especially when interrupted by periods of silence
● Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
● Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
● Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
● Morning headache
● Difficulty concentrating during the day
● Mood changes, such as depression or irritability
● High blood pressure
● Decreased libido
If left untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea can lead to complications that can affect your sleep, and in turn your everyday
life. These complications may include:
● Cardiovascular problems
● Complications with medicines and surgery
● Eye problems, including glaucoma
● Sleep-deprived partners
● Memory problems
● Mood swings/depression
● Strong need to urinate at night
What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can occur for many reasons, many of which are treatable. Individuals who are overweight can experience sleep apnea, as there is more soft tissue around the back of the throat. This tissue will collapse around the throat at night while sleeping, obstructing the airway.
Other patients may have naturally narrow airways, where their tonsils or adenoids may enlarge and block airflow. Studies have also
shown that factors like old age, high blood pressure, chronic nasal congestion, smoking, diabetes, asthma, and a family history of sleep apnea are also often linked to obstructive sleep apnea as well.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
In the past, many OSA patients have been treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, more commonly known as a CPAP machine. This device uses a mask to press air through the nose, mouth, and lungs. The consistent air pressure prevents the
airways from collapsing, allowing the patient to take deep, continuous breaths.
While CPAP machines work well, many patients negatively react to the mask. It can cause discomfort while sleeping, and the loud machines can make it difficult to achieve restful sleep for both you and your bed partner. Furthermore, CPAP machines are bulky, making travel with a CPAP more difficult. To resolve these issues, Sleep Matters treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients with oral appliances instead of
CPAP machines. Our oral appliances treat OSA with custom-fitted mouthpieces that reposition the lower jaw to prevent airways from collapsing.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Our most common device is the mandibular repositioning device (MRD), which pushes the jaw forward to keep the tongue from
blocking your airways. This forward position reduces the risk of snoring and obstruction during sleep. These devices are FDA-approved and proven to treat OSA just as effectively as a CPAP machine.
In addition to their effectiveness in treating OSA, our patients love our oral devices because they are much easier to use than a CPAP machine. Our oral appliances fit like a mouthguard, making them portable, quiet, and comfortable. They are also small and easy to travel with, so you
can take them on the go. Our oral appliances are also more readily available than CPAP machines, as the parts are still difficult to come by with the supply chain still not completely back to where it was pre-covid. Oral appliances also have a much higher compliance percentage than CPAP machines, so our patients use the device much more frequently, leading to better sleep!
A healthier you is just around the corner! Contact us today to schedule a
complimentary consultation to review your options. Sleep Matters wants to help you improve your sleep and overall health, allowing you to feel rested and ready to enjoy your life to the fullest.