Understanding Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. This condition causes a person's airway to repeatedly become blocked, resulting in pauses in breathing that can last from a few seconds to over a minute. These episodes can occur numerous times throughout the night, causing disrupted sleep and resulting in symptoms like loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems if left untreated, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines or oral appliances that help keep the airway open during sleep.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
The diagnosis of sleep apnea involves a comprehensive evaluation of a person's sleep patterns and breathing during sleep. A sleep study, either at home or in a sleep center, is often conducted to monitor various body functions during sleep, including brain activity, eye movement, heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels. The results of the sleep study are then analyzed to determine the presence and severity of sleep apnea. Other tests may also be conducted, such as physical exams, blood tests, and imaging studies, to identify any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the sleep apnea.
Sleep Evaluation at The Center
Consultation: If you've been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, schedule a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for Oral Appliance Therapy.
Sleep Study Review: Dr. Jurash will take the time to review your sleep study results with you, making sure you understand what they mean and assess whether positional therapy could be beneficial in your case.
Associated Symptoms: If you're dealing with issues like allergies, mouth breathing, or nasal congestion that might impact your sleep, Dr. Jurash is here to help address these concerns.
Oral Appliance Delivery and Titration: Once the oral appliance is delivered, Dr. Jurash will fine-tune its settings for optimal effectiveness.
Home Sleep Unit Monitoring: To gauge the treatment's success, a home sleep unit will be used to assess the impact of the appliance.
Pediatric Sleep Evaluation: Dr. Jurash also provides sleep evaluations for children and, if necessary, will refer them to a specialist for further assessment.
Oral Appliances for the treatment of Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances are a common treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea, or as an alternative to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine for patients who find a CPAP uncomfortable to use. These custom appliances work by holding the lower jaw forward. This helps to prevent the tongue and soft tissues from collapsing and blocking the airway.
Oral appliances are typically easy to use, portable, and do not require electricity, making them a convenient option for many patients. They may need to be adjusted periodically to ensure that they remain effective, and regular follow-up appointments with a dental professional and sleep specialist are necessary. Explore Dr. Jurash's recommended oral appliance by visiting ProSomnus Sleep Technologies.