Signs and Treatment for Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, your breathing stops and restarts when you sleep. While the interruptions are brief, this condition can be quite serious, so you need to get treatment. Of course, you’re asleep when you stop breathing, so you might not realize you have sleep apnea and need treatment. Let’s begin by going over the signs of sleep apnea, and then you can explore the treatment options.


Signs of Sleep Apnea


Loud, chronic snoring is the biggest warning sign that you suffer from sleep apnea. While many people snore from time to time, if you snore every night, and it is loud enough to disturb your partner, you need to undergo an evaluation.

There are other signs, as well. Sleep apnea prevents you from getting a restful night’s sleep, so you’ll likely experience sleepiness during the day. You might even have trouble staying awake when you read, watch, TV, drive, and talk to others.

Excessive sleepiness leads to a range of symptoms, including memory problems, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. You also might wake up with headaches.

If you snore or feel excessively tired, it’s time to undergo an evaluation. If you do have sleep apnea, your provider can start you on a treatment plan to keep your airway open when you sleep.  


Oral Appliance Therapy


Oral appliance therapy is a popular option for people suffering from sleep apnea. You’ll wear a customized appliance when you sleep. It looks and feels much like a sports mouthguard, but it has a different function. Instead of protecting your teeth while you play sports, this appliance moves your jaw forward to ensure your airway stays open when you sleep.

Many people prefer oral appliance therapy over other treatment options because it’s comfortable, portable, and easy to wear. It’s also easy to care for, and you don’t need electricity to use it.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP)


You can also use a CPAP machine if you have sleep apnea. You’ll wear a mask that’s connected to the machine. The machine will send air through the mask and into your airway to keep it open through the night. Some people have difficulty complying with the CPAP device, but when worn, it’s an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.


Surgical Treatment


You can also undergo surgery to treat sleep apnea, although this is typically the last resort. A surgeon can place a stimulator in your chest to control the movement of your tongue to keep your airway open. A surgeon can also remove excess tissue in the airway, so you can breathe easily at night. Surgical options are typically explored when conservative treatments do not work.


Do You Think You Have Sleep Apnea?


If you think you have sleep apnea, you need to undergo a sleep study. The study will determine if you stop breathing when you sleep, as well as how often that occurs. Then you can begin treatment.

Amy Guthrie, DDS in Los Altos, CA can treat your sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. To learn more about this treatment or to schedule a consultation, call (650) 323-2138.