Many individuals with sleep apnea have no idea they have it. Common symptoms include chronic daytime sleepiness, impaired cognitive function, waking up frequently during the night, dry mouth or a headache upon waking, and/or loud and chronic snoring that may be accompanied by pauses, choking, or gasping. Your partner may notice these symptoms based on your sleep patterns. A proper diagnosis requires a physical examination, analysis of your medical and family history, and a sleep study to record your brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, chest movements, air movement through your nose, and blood oxygen levels.
Sleep apnea is more common in men but can also occur in women and children. It is also more common in individuals who are overweight. Those with a narrow airway, enlarged tonsils, an enlarged uvula or soft palate, or a family history of sleep apnea are also at risk. The risk of developing sleep apnea increases with age.
A CPAP machine or surgery may be recommended to treat sleep apnea. However, it is estimated that 75% of patients are noncompliant with wearing their CPAP. If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and cannot (or will not) wear a CPAP, Dr. Jamie Sands can make an oral appliance for you.
Many people prefer oral appliance therapy because it is non-invasive and is more comfortable, easy to maintain, easy to wear, quiet, portable, and convenient. Oral appliance therapy may be appropriate for individuals who are incompatible with a CPAP machine. This form of treatment is best for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and it is often covered by medical insurance plans. Talk to your sleep doctor and personal physician to find out whether oral appliance therapy is an appropriate treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy will help you sleep better and improve your breathing during sleep. People with obstructive sleep apnea who use an oral appliance at night can have higher quality sleep, more energy, more mental clarity, and greater emotional stability. This simple, yet effective form of treatment promotes a healthier body, mind, and heart.