What is Sleep Apnea?
The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath. Sleep Apnea a disorder characterized by a reduction or pause of breathing (airflow) during sleep. When an apnea occurs, sleep usually is disrupted due to inadequate breathing and poor oxygen levels in the blood.
There are three types of Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive – a blockage of the airway;
Central – the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe;
Mixed – a combination of the two
Of the three, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, often called OSA for short, is the most common.
In all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. In most cases the sleeper is unaware of these breath stoppages because they don’t trigger a full awakening. Children are not immune from having OSA
How Common is Sleep Apnea?
- Researchers have estimated that at least 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea.
- 9% of men and 4% of women suffer from some form of OSA.
- It is estimated that one in every 15 Americans have at least moderate sleep apnea.
- Less than 10% of OSA sufferers have been diagnosed.
- 70% of obese patients have obstructive sleep apnea.
- A recent study estimated that 14% of NFL football players and 34% of NFL linemen have obstructive sleep apnea.
- You can live 3 weeks without food
- You can live 3 days without water
- You can only live 3 minutes without oxygen
What are Some Signs of Sleep Apnea?
- Loud SNORING
- Daytime TIREDNESS or sleepiness
- Someone OBSERVED that you stopped breathing or gasp for a breath while you were sleeping
- Other signs can include: high blood pressure, neck size more than 17”, acid reflux, memory problems, morning headaches, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, insomnia and social problems.
- OBESITY is the leading contributing factor in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
What are the Risks and Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea?
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Tired driving is the #1 cause of car accidents and is statistically more dangerous than drunk driving.
- Less than 4 hours of sleep per night has a sedative effect equivalent to legal intoxication
- People with untreated sleep apnea are twelve times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident.
$12 Billion spent in sleep related accidents 50% of all motor vehicle accidents are due sleep deprivation 36% of all fatal MVAs are a result of sleep deprivation[divider style=”content”] [/divider]
Increased Risk of Death
WASHINGTON | Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:41pm EDT
(Reuters) – Severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent, U.S. researchers reported Monday, but said people with milder sleep-breathing problems do not share that risk.
Effects on Bed Partners
Because sleep apnea so often includes noisy snoring, the condition can have an adverse effect on the sleep quality of a patient’s bed partner. In some cases, it can disrupt relationships.
There is a correlation between OSA and a worsening of:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Seizures and Epilepsy
- Pregnancy Complications
- Heart Failure
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Orthodontic Problems
- Pulmonary Hypertension
and numerous other health and dental conditions
How Do I Find Out if I Have Sleep Apnea?
Come by our office and we will give you a self test to see if you’re a possible candidate for sleep apnea.
Definitive diagnosis is determined by a sleep study or Polysomnography. We can help you with a referral by your primary care physician to a sleep lab
What are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?
CPAP (Continuous Postive Air Pressure)
- “Gold Standard” for treatment
- Preferred treatment for severe OSA.
- Proven to stop OSA 100%
How does CPAP work?
It forces air through the airway to open the space so you can breath
- Standard of care for snoring and mild OSA
- Standard of care for snoring and mild OSA
- Comfortable and easy to use, easy to carry when travelling.
- Treatment is reversible and non invasive
How do Oral Appliances work?
They reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula to open the airway Works in the same way when you move the lower jaw forward during CPR Placed by a dentist trained in oral appliances
- Can be a benefit to children who have OSA that is caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Can be utilized to help lessen snoring due to abnormal anatomical structures
How do Surgical Procedures work?
Surgery is used to address anatomical problems that contribute to OSA
Behavioral changes are the simplest treatments for mild obstructive sleep apnea, but often the hardest to make.
Occasionally, apneas occur only in some positions (most commonly lying flat on the back). A person can change his or her sleeping position, reduce apneas, and improve their sleep. A 10% weight loss will decrease the apnea-hypopnea index by 25%. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle and diet that encourages weight loss will improve obstructive sleep apnea.
Improving your “sleep hygiene” or how you sleep can also be of benefit.