Sleep Apnea: America’s 2nd Most Prevalent Sleep Disorder

Do you wake up feeling as if you’ve never slept? Or perhaps you experience morning headaches or awaken in the middle of the night coughing and gasping for air? Sleep apnea is a common sleep-breathing disorder that plagues roughly 20 million Americans. However, since 80% of sleep apnea goes undiagnosed, that number could be much higher. Sleep apnea symptoms are common in other conditions and can easily go overlooked or misdiagnosed. Butler sleep dentist Dr. Robert Fornalczyk can help you finally get a good night’s rest and alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms.

Three Kinds of Sleep Apnea

Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is when you experience pauses in breathing while you sleep. These pauses can happen hundreds of times per night and last ten seconds or more. When your brain realizes the lack of oxygen and excess CO2, it awakens you to resume breathing. These awakenings can be so brief that you don’t remember them in the morning.

Your body performs essential tasks while you sleep, and when your sleep is fragmented, you may not spend enough time in each stage of sleep for your brain and body to restore. During sleep, your body repairs cells, releases hormones and proteins, restores energy, stores information, reorganizes nerve cells, and rids your brain of toxic waste build-up from the day. When your body isn’t asleep long enough at a time to do these functions, your entire body suffers.

There are three different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. It occurs when your airway muscles relax during sleep. The soft tissues supported by those muscles such as your tongue, tonsils, uvula, and sidewalls of your throat block or partially obstruct your airway. Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea are CPAP and oral appliance therapy.

Central Sleep Apnea: Central sleep apnea is much less common. It’s a neurological condition in which your brain doesn’t tell your lungs to breathe. Treatment for central sleep apnea is a CPAP machine.

Complex Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea is less common still, and it’s a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. Treatment for complex sleep apnea is a CPAP machine.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Symptoms of sleep apnea vary per person, but here are some common signs to watch for. If you experience one or multiple sleep apnea symptoms, contact us, and we can get you set up with a sleep testing facility. Once you have a formal diagnosis, we can help you with treatment.

  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Restless sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Irritability
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Choking or gasping for breath during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Depression and anxiety

Who is at risk?

Certain factors increase your risk of sleep apnea, but it’s important to remember that anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of age, gender, or weight.

Gender: Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women because the muscles in their airways are typically less toned. However, women can still have sleep apnea, but it’s more likely with excess weight and after menopause.

Weight: Excess weight and obesity raise your risk of obstructive sleep apnea because your relaxed airway muscles have a harder time holding the excess tissue.

Age: Sleep apnea risk increases with age.

Genetics: Many people suffer from sleep apnea due to genetics. You may have a narrow airway, or your jaw is positioned too far back.

Smoking: Smoking cigarettes increases your risk and exacerbates sleep apnea. Smoking causes mucus build-up and inflammation in your airway, narrowing it.

Alcohol and sleep medication: If you have sleep apnea or might have it, alcohol and sleep medication only make the issue worse. They relax your airway muscles more than usual, and it’s harder for your brain to awaken you when an apnea episode occurs.

Remember, people who don’t fall into the risk factor categories, or don’t know that they do, can still have sleep apnea. If you experience symptoms, call your Butler sleep dentist, Dr. Bob, at (724) 282-4436 or make an appointment online. We’ll help you get the restorative sleep you need.

CPAP Alternative: Oral Appliance Therapy

If your sleep test shows that you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you qualify for an alternative CPAP treatment, oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is a sleek orthotic that you wear in your mouth whenever you sleep. It’s small and comfortable, and it doesn’t require the use of a machine, mask, or tubes.

Your oral appliance is custom fit to your mouth. It holds your jaw forward, making more room in your airway so the soft tissues won’t obstruct your airway when your airway muscles relax. People in Butler find oral appliances comfortable and easy to use. They offer these benefits:

  • Sleep in any position
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Small enough to fit in your pocket or purse
  • Electricity isn’t needed (perfect for camping!)
  • Silent
  • Easy for people to get used to wearing it
  • No CPAP side effects such as a dry throat or gassiness

If oral appliance therapy sounds like a treatment that’ll fit your mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, call us today at (724) 282-4436 or make an appointment online.

Your Life After Sleep Apnea Treatment

After receiving treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea in Butler, PA, your quality of life will significantly improve. You can enjoy energized days, restful nights, a happy mood, no morning headaches, and a general feeling of joy for life again. Get sleep apnea treatment in Butler today. Call (724) 282-4436 or make an appointment online.