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Sleep Apnea: Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Treatments

Do you feel excessively sleepy during the day, and constantly hear complaints from your spouse because you snore too loudly? These little problems may be signs of more serious conditions like sleep apnea. You might want to see a doctor for proper sleep apnea diagnosis to find out if you are suffering from this particular sleep disorder.

“Apnea” comes from Greek word meaning, “to breathe”. In sleep apnea, however, it refers to the opposite. An apnea in this case is an abnormal pause in breathing. Patients suffering from sleep apnea experience these abnormal pauses multiple times in a single hour as they sleep.

The changes in your breathing patterns may trigger loud snoring as your body tries to make up for the oxygen lost during the apnea. The daytime sleepiness might be because of the lack of oxygen in your bloodstream, or because you keep waking up when an apnea occurs.

Sleep apnea often occurs because of physical obstructions in your windpipe. This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These obstructions can be anything from collapsed muscles to fatty tissue pressing down your windpipe as you sleep.

The appropriate sleep apnea cure depends largely on the results of your diagnosis and polysomnogram (PSG) tests. People suffering from less severe cases of sleep apnea can visit a dentist for Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). This involves having your dentist create a personalized mouthpiece to wear every night. This mouthpiece helps keep your airway open by supporting your jaw, soft palate, and tongue.

Doctors also treat severe cases of sleep apnea using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This device has a facemask attached to it, which you need to wear as you sleep. With proper diagnosis and treatment, your sleep apnea may subside, and you may get the optimum amount of rest each night and avoid disrupting other people’s sleep.

You may call us for information on dental appliances that may help treat sleep apnea. Our dentist will discuss all possible options that will fit your condition.