Breathing Disorders: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Snoring occurs when the air is unable to move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep. It is often caused by a narrowing of the airway—usually due to abnormalities of the soft tissues in the throat. Snoring can also be due to the position of your tongue while you sleep, poor sleep posture or other factors. Snoring is a signal of sleep apnea. While snoring may be annoying to your partner, it can be a serious health problem for you.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is when a person has many occlusions in their airway during sleep, which leads to pauses in their breathing. These pauses can be caused by a narrowing in the throat behind the tongue, insufficient tongue space, underdevelopment of the face and jaw, or tongue tie.

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Pauses in breathing can last several minutes and can occur multiple times per hour—resulting in a person’s inability to get restful sleep and lowers the oxygen saturation their body needs to perform at optimal levels.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A danger to your health

When your body goes without oxygen due to sleep apnea, it causes a fight or flight response to bring the body back to normal function. This causes your brain to release stress chemicals that overstimulates the body and puts it at risk of heart attack, stroke and other systemic diseases.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Waking up frequently
  • Insomnia
  • Sore or dry throat upon waking
  • Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness/lethargy
  • Morning headaches
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood changes—anxiety, depression, edginess
  • Clenching/grinding of teeth
  • Frequent urination
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar

Treatment for OSA

If you think you may have sleep apnea, it is important to contact your medical doctor for a diagnosis or talk to us. Upon diagnosis, weight loss, exercise, and good sleep practices are proactive steps, but treatment is necessary.

This is a pressured airway generated delivery system (like a ventilator) that delivers mild air pressure on a continuous basis throughout the night to help keep the airway unobstructed. It involves a mask that fits over your nose and/or mouth.

Oral appliance therapy is approved for people with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea or who cannot tolerate CPAP. It is a custom-designed and fitted oral appliance worn during sleep to help maintain an open, unobstructed airway.

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