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Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea treatment

Serving St. Joseph, Niles, South Bend, Kalamazoo and all of Southwest Michigan

Sleep apnea is a very serious medical condition affecting more than 20 million Americans. If not properly treated, it can lead to potentially life-threatening health issues such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Depression
  • Death

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

Please contact our St. Joseph sleep apnea dentist to schedule your initial consultation at Modern Dentistry Associates, serving patients in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan and Elkhart, Indiana.

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