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Sleep Apnea Treatment

When you suffer from sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. In order to resume breathing, your brain will briefly rouse you from sleep. This pattern may occur hundreds of times a night. Often, you will not even realize your sleep is being disrupted.

The cessation of breathing is caused by the muscles in the back of your throat relaxing and collapsing on your airway. When your airway becomes blocked, your blood does not receive enough oxygen. In order to correct this issue, your brain signals your body to wake up.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most common sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea is loud snoring. Other symptoms include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Short term memory issues
  • Weight gain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Gastric reflux
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Mood changes

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment

St. Joseph sleep apnea dentist Dr. Sven Erickson will refer you to a local sleep center for a variety of tests in order to properly diagnose the condition.

The most common form of sleep apnea treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This treatment method involves wearing a special mask that uses pressure to push air through your nasal passages. This continuous flow of air prevents your throat from collapsing while you sleep. However, many patients struggle with the CPAP apparatus. In fact, less than 50% of CPAP patients actually comply with the treatment protocol. Due to this poor compliance record, Dr. Erickson offers alternative treatment methods.

Dr. Erickson generally recommends oral appliance therapy for his patients with sleep apnea. This involves the use of a custom-fit mouthpiece which keeps your airway open while you sleep. By preventing the blockage of your airway, your oral appliance will help you breathe easily through the night. Dr. Erickson has found this to be a very effective treatment method in most cases.

For some patients, simple lifestyle changes may alleviate the condition. These may include:

  • Changing your position while you sleep so that you are on your side instead of your back
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Losing weight
  • Elevating your head while you sleep

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, a condition that can become dangerous if left untreated. Although it is not always a sign of apnea, it is a good idea to see a sleep apnea specialist for a thorough evaluation to investigate any underlying breathing problems.

The Dangers of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked while sleeping, preventing you from receiving proper levels of oxygen. In order to resume breathing, your brain briefly rouses you from sleep. This can occur hundreds of times a night without you even realizing it. You’re probably snoring a lot and annoying your bed partner too.

Even if your snoring is not indicative of a sleep apnea issue, seeking a snoring remedy can lead to better sleep and reduce side effects such as fatigue and throat irritation. Plus, your partner will most likely benefit as well from finally being able to enjoy an uninterrupted night of sleep.

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