Sleep Apnea – Loveland, OH
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by many interruptions in breathing throughout the night. It can happen if your body isn't getting enough oxygen. If you snore loudly, repeatedly gasp while sleeping, or encounter other symptoms of poor sleep quality, such as increased daytime sleepiness, you should consult Sleep Apnea Solutions of Loveland.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are various different types of sleep apnea that you should be aware of:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When your upper airway becomes obstructed repeatedly throughout the night, preventing airflow or limiting its volume, you have obstructive sleep apnea. This form of sleep apnea affects many people. Enlarged tonsils, obesity, and fluctuations in hormone levels are all risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea because they restrict the airway.
Central Sleep Apnea
This type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to deliver signals to the body's breathing centers during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by problems with your airway and chest muscles that your brain is supposed to be controlling.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
It can be challenging to tell if you have obstructive or central sleep apnea because the symptoms are similar. Some of the most prevalent signs of both obstructive and central sleep apneas are:
- Somebody snores quite loudly
- Sleep-related gasping for air
- Mouth feels dry in the morning
- A headache upon waking
- Insomnia, or the inability to maintain sleep
- Lack of ability to focus while awake
Causes of Sleep Apnea
When the muscles in the back of the throat become too relaxed, sleep apnea occurs. Tonsils, side walls of the neck, and the tongue are all supported by these muscles, as well as the soft palate and the triangular portion of tissue hanging from the soft palate called the uvula.
Muscle relaxation during inhalation causes the airway to become narrower or perhaps completely closed. Inadequate ventilation reduces blood oxygen levels. When your brain realizes you're having trouble breathing, it wakes you up momentarily so you can clear your airway. In most cases, this awareness is so fleeting that it is forgotten immediately.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
So you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Now what? You do have some choices at Sleep Apnea Solutions of Cincinnati as far as treatment goes depending on your level of sleep apnea severity and sleeplessness.
The most studied and successful of the obstructive sleep apnea treatments is arguably the most well known and that is continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP, and it's variations. CPAP is a solution that sends nonstop pressure into your throat while you are sleeping to keep your airway open.
Oral Sleep Appliance
For those suffering with less extreme versions of sleep apnea, oral appliances are a great choice. These too are devices that are worn at night and prescribed and made by a properly trained dentist. The most well known of these is a mandibular advancement device or MAD. This particular treatment is arguably the easiest solution. It's custom fit to be worn over your upper and lower teeth and designed to allow your lower jaw to move forward to open your airway while you sleep. Still used, but not as often as MADS, is a tongue retaining device. This final option is a soft splint made of plastic that fits over the tongue and holds it in place, keeping the airway clear.
As you can see, there are several options for treatment when seeking relief from sleep apnea depending on the severity of your symptoms. For people with slight to less than severe sleep apnea, dental devices should be something they consider. For those with a more severe situation, CPAP machines may be the better alternative. No matter what solution you end up with, the best way to approach it is to talk with us to find what works best for you. We'll take a look at the physical state of your airway, your medical health and history, as well as your personal preferences to find a solution that works best for you.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Do you feel like you know enough about sleep apnea to make the right decisions for having it treated? Or are there one or two things that you’re unclear on? Feel free to let our team know if you have any questions related to sleep apnea; we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that you’re as informed as possible about your sleep disorder. Here are some examples of questions that we often receive from our patients.
Can I Diagnose Sleep Apnea On My Own?
Once you’re aware of the warning signs associated with sleep apnea – loud snoring, morning headaches, lack of focus during the day, and so on – you may feel like you know enough to diagnose your own case. However, even if you notice potential symptoms of sleep apnea, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you have the disorder. A sleep test is required in order for a proper diagnosis to be made. To have a sleep test performed, get in touch with a sleep doctor. Once you have been diagnosed, you can reach out to our office to discuss options for treatment.
How Can I Travel with Sleep Apnea?
You should never be without your sleep apnea treatment even when you’re away from home. You can bring your CPAP machine with you when you travel; however, many people find this inconvenient because of the bulk of the machine. Oral appliances, on the other hand, are much smaller and therefore easier to pack. In many cases, you may even be able to simply put your oral appliance in your pocket!
No matter what kind of sleep apnea treatment you’re using, try to stick to your normal sleep schedule as much as you can so that you can get the quality slumber that you need.
How Should I Clean My Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance?
Naturally, since your oral appliance will spend a lot of time in your mouth, bacteria can accumulate on it over time. To protect your dental health, you should clean your oral appliance regularly with a denture cleanser. It’s also a good idea to brush and rinse your oral appliance in the morning immediately after you take it out of your mouth. Remember that if you’re not wearing your oral appliance, it should always be stored in its protective case.
What Does Sleep Apnea Look Like for Women?
Men and women don’t have exactly the same symptoms when it comes to sleep apnea. Men often snore loudly and feel tired during the day. Meanwhile, women might experience insomnia, and they may notice feelings of depression and anxiety. It’s worth remembering that while women develop sleep apnea less often than men, they may be more likely to suffer from the disorder if they are pregnant, overweight, or past menopause. It’s a good idea to talk to a sleep expert if you want a more complete picture of what your risk for sleep apnea is and what symptoms you should keep an eye out for.