© 2017 by Cary Ganz DDS

Sleep Apnea

DOES THIS LOOK FAMILIAR?

An estimated 40 million people in the U.S. alone are affected by a sleep disorder, many of whom are undiagnosed. About 30 million Americans have undiagnosed Sleep Apnea.

As Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) develops, it has a cumulative effect. This means that the longer the disease goes untreated, the greater the negative side effects and associated health risks. If sleep apnea remains untreated, other health conditions may emerge or current health problems may heighten.

The Latest In Diagnosis

Our office is pleased to provide our patients with the latest in screening techniques accomplished in our office during your initial visits. The diagnosis of Sleep Apnea is done by a trained pulmonologist who then determines, based upon the data, what the appropriate course of treatment should be prescribed. 

During your time at our office we will be using computerized technology such as Rhinometers and Pharyngometers to help create the appropriate appliance based upon the diagnosis from the physician.

These computerized devices are pain free, non-invasive and only take minutes of time. They provide our office with incredibly value data enabling us to fabricate an oral appliance should it be considered the best course of treatment.

Snoring can be a real annoying issue but it is only a symptom of possibly a life threatening condition called Sleep Apnea!

Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has stated that sleep apnea is as common as Diabetes 2 and affects approximately 18 million in the United States.

Three types of sleep apnea exist:

  1. Obstructive - OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is the most common form of sleep apnea. Caused by a blockage of the airway sometimes caused by the dropping of the back part of the mouth during sleep.

  2. Central - In central sleep apnea the brain just signals the breathing to stop even if the airway if totally open.

  3. Mixed - A combination of the two

 

What is common with all types is that the individual basically stops breathing several times a night, sometimes hundreds of times, for minutes at a time with periodic gasps or choking. Typically the person is unaware of this problem because the stoppage of breathing is not enough to wake them up totally from their sleep. Sleep, however, is not total and the resulting effect is waking tired and staying tired during the day. So, this condition can go undiagnosed for years. Married people are sometimes more quickly diagnosed when one partner insists that treatment be initiated due to the loud snoring that often accompanies sleep apnea.

Some Indications Of OSA:

  • More frequent in men than woman

  • Typically in 40 years old and older

  • More often in blacks and hispanics

  • Loud snoring

  • Obesity

  • Daytime drowsiness - This can potentially lead to accidents at work or during travel

  • Scalloped tongue

  • Enlarged tongue

If Sleep Apnea Is Not Untreated What Can Happen?

 

If not untreated, sleep apnea can have serious life-shortening consequences such as:

  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • car accidents due to the driver falling asleep at the wheel

  • diabetes

  • depression

  • weight gain

  • impotence

  • memory problems

  • and other ailments.

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The treatment of sleep apnea very often depends on the severity of the condition. After your sleep apnea home test, a pulmonologist will determine if your level of sleep apnea is mild, moderate or severe. 

If your level of sleep apnea is severe, you will most likely be prescribed a CPAP device. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of positive airway pressure ventilator, which applies mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways continuously open in people who are able to breathe spontaneously on their own.

For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or for those people who find that they cannot wear a CPAP device, an oral device is available. These oral devices are fabricated at our office. They are comfortable to wear and can provide an increase in the airway and help to relieve the effects of sleep apnea.