Many patients who snore also have a condition called sleep apnea. This sleep-breathing disorder is defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds at a time, five times an hour. That’s nearly a minute per hour or a 15% reduction in oxygen intake throughout the night! While we may think of snoring as merely a nuisance, sleep apnea and its side effects can have a serious impact on your overall health.
Sleep apnea has been linked to:
- Muscle pain
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Loss of short-term memory
- Gastric reflux
- Intellectual deterioration
- Memory and concentration impairment
- Heart attack
- Inefficient metabolism
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Severe anxiety
- Mood swings
WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea results when the airway collapses, causing the soft-tissues to vibrate (snoring). At times, the soft-tissues completely block the airway, causing suffocation and even asphyxiation. It’s a medical disorder that can diminish the quality and longevity of life.
To have a better understanding of sleep apnea, take a coffee stir straw and try to breath out of it while plugging your nose. The straw represents how much air passes through the airway while sleeping.
When your body doesn’t receive enough air, you will awaken just enough to breathe. The lack of deep, REM sleep causes stress to the body and organs, as well as daytime drowsiness. People with sleep apnea are also more likely to be involved in serious car accidents.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
A CPAP machine has been used for years to treat patients with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea results when a patient’s airway is blocked by the tissues of their mouth or throat, preventing oxygen flow to the body. The CPAP tries to prevent this by delivering a steady stream of pressurized oxygen through a facial mask.
Unfortunately, many people hate their CPAP. This is why nearly 50% of people prescribed a CPAP machine stop using it after the first year. This means they are consciously choosing to not treat their sleep apnea, but they simply can’t stand the machine.
The mask and noisy machine often prevent patients from falling asleep in the first place, which defeats its main purpose. The mask can often leave people feeling uncomfortable and constricted, leading many to even experience claustrophobia. The machine can be quite loud, and this not only disturbs the patient, but anyone else that might be sharing the room with them. The machine is quite bulky, and can restrict a person’s movement while they are trying to sleep. This makes it very cumbersome to travel with, so most patients don’t ever take it with them.
Many patients are also CPAP intolerant. This can be because the continual pumping of air doesn’t relieve their sleep apnea, or that they may be suffering from a latex allergy, and the materials of the machine irritate their skin.
Fortunately, there is a viable CPAP alternative. You don’t have to choose between the dangers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the inconvenience of CPAP therapy. The best alternative for most patients is oral appliance therapy.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Dr. Bradley Dilling recommend oral appliances for people who have mild to moderate sleep apnea and are CPAP intolerant.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT - ORAL DENTAL APPLIANCE
An oral appliance is a small device (similar to a mouthguard) that you would wear each night to bed. It helps prevent your airway from becoming blocked by gently shifting your jaw forward, keeping your tongue in a neutral position, or both. This protects your airway from becoming obstructed over the course of the night, insuring a restful night’s sleep. Each oral appliance is custom-made for every patient from strong and flexible materials. They are made to be comfortable as well, and patients should be able to speak clearly and drink normally while they are wearing one.
Many people prefer oral appliances because they are small, easy to use, and effective. In fact, nearly 95% of patients who routinely wear oral appliances report a dramatic increase in their sleep quality. They don’t have to contend with the noise or the size of the CPAP machine, and can easily take them anywhere they go.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea but are sick and tired of your CPAP machine, call us today so we can start making you a customized oral appliance. It may be exactly what your sleep needs.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT ALTERNATIVES TO CPAP FOR TREATMENT