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Oral Appliance TherapySleep Apnea Symptoms & Your Health

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that prevents the sufferer from getting the restorative sleep they need, night after night. Someone who has sleep apnea frequently stops breathing each night due to an obstruction in the airway -- sometimes, up to 30 times per hour for severe cases.

This causes the person to gasp for air when they do resume breathing and induces loud snoring. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can lead to dangerous medical consequences.

Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, but it’s important to note that not everyone who snores has this sleep condition.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up several times during the night
  • Pauses in breathing followed by gasping for air while you sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Reduced libido
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety

If you experience any of these symptoms, we suggest that you undergo a sleep study to determine if you have this sleep disorder.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

There are several factors that make a person more susceptible to having sleep apnea. These include:

  • Carrying excess weight
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Gender - males are at a higher risk
  • Age - older patients are at a higher risk
  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • A larger neck circumference which may mean a narrower airway
  • Nasal congestion

Health Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Every time a sleep apnea sufferer stops breathing it reduces the amount of oxygen circulating through their bloodstream, causing tremendous strain on the heart and other important organs.

This is one of the main reasons why people with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of experiencing other medical issues.

Sleep apnea is associated with several chronic medical conditions, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Acid reflux
  • Impotence

In addition, there are many medical conditions that can be made worse by the disorder, including obesity, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Getting The Right Diagnosis and Treatment

Getting a full night of restorative sleep is important to live a healthy, thriving life. Sleep heals your body and gives you the energy and focus you need to live each day to the fullest. This is why finding the right treatment for your sleep apnea is so vital.

At West Coast Snore & Sleep Apnea Solutions, we offer a convenient home sleep test, or we can help you find a center that offers overnight sleep tests.

We also offer a Self Sleep Evaluation on our website that uses the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to give you an indication of how well you’re sleeping.

Once you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, Dr. Henninger will work with you to find the treatment that works best for you. We offer convenient and comfortable custom-made oral appliances to treat your sleep apnea as an alternative to CPAP.

We can also provide you with a temporary oral appliance that you can take home the day of your initial appointment and use while you’re waiting for your custom-made appliance.

Contact our Vista office at (760) 666-6554 to schedule a sleep apnea evaluation and get started on your treatment and your path to a better night’s sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are effective sleep apnea treatments?

At West Coast Snoring and Sleep Apnea Solutions, we offer various treatments to assist you on your road to recovering from the long-term health consequences of sleep apnea. We offer several types of customized oral appliances that help to open your airway.

We also offer NightLase which gently tightens the muscles in your mouth and opens your airway. Patients report feeling effects after just one treatment.

A CPAP machine is an older form of technology often used by sleep apnea patients. While it’s considered an effective treatment method, nearly 50% of patients discontinue treatment within three months. Many of them find that it’s too bulky and uncomfortable in comparison to more modern treatment methods.

Studies show that continuous treatment can reverse the consequences of sleep apnea, so finding what works for you is crucial.

Is there a cure for sleep apnea?

The only cure for sleep apnea is to have surgery. However, surgery is invasive and only used in the most severe cases as a last resort. As a first line of defense, we’ll typically suggest an Apnea Guard to begin reversing the effects of sleep apnea while you wait for your customized oral appliance to arrive.

In addition to treating sleep apnea with an oral device, we may suggest NightLase which gently tightens the muscles in your throat to open your airway. Dr. Henninger will also recommend certain lifestyle changes to ensure the treatment is effective.

A multidisciplinary approach may improve your chances of a successful treatment.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study. A sleep study can be performed in the comfort of your own home with our suggested ARES Home Sleep Test. If you choose, we can also recommend a sleep study that’s performed in an office setting under the supervision of a physician.

With the take-home test, you’ll receive the sleep test equipment from your physician and return it to them after you’ve conducted the test. The equipment will monitor your heart rate and breathing, as well as the oxygen level in your blood.

Once your physician diagnoses you with sleep apnea, Dr. Henninger can help you find a treatment option that suits you.

Are sleep apnea and snoring the same thing?

Most people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Loud and frequent snoring is one of the most common and noticeable signs of sleep apnea. If you snore, we highly recommend you undergo a sleep study to determine if, in fact, you have sleep apnea.

Once you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can begin treatment immediately. Whether you have sleep apnea, or simply snore, we’ll assist you with treatment so you and your partner can start enjoying restful nights.