Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious sleeping disorder that occurs when regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. When this occurs, the tongue becomes stuck against the back of the throat, which blocks the upper airway, stops airflow, and causes the oxygen level in the brain to drop low enough to partially awaken the sleeper. The sleep cycle is disrupted multiple times during a night of sleep. This repeated cycle of decreased blood oxygen can lead to very serious cardiovascular problems, excessive fatigue, depression, and loss of concentration. common symptoms include lout snoring, restless sleep, and excessive fatigue during the day.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause the following negative health problems:
- high blood pressure
- heart failure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat
- worsening of ADHD
Sleep apnea is a greater risk for those individuals:
- over 40
- with large tonsils, large tongue, or small jaw
- with a family history of sleep apnea
- with a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
Sleep apnea can be treated by a variety of options. The oral appliance we design at our office can be very successful in mild to moderate cases. This appliance is a type of mouth guard that shifts and supports the jaw to prevent the airway from collapsing. It is a very effective alternative to surgical procedures or to wearing the CPAP to bed at night, which is a continuous positive air pressure device.