Sleep Apnea Treatment in OKC
Oral & Maxillofacial Associates of Oklahoma offers sleep apnea treatment in Oklahoma City, Norman, Midwest City, and Edmond, OK. To schedule an appointment call 405-848-7994 (Oklahoma City), 405-292-8900 (Norman), 405-733-4296 (Midwest City), 405-341-4022 (Edmond), or 405-751-3312 (Lakeside).
Sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that affects approximately 18 to 30 million people in the United States. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty. However, sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children.
Sleep apnea causes sufferers to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, often for up to a minute at a time. Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. It also raises the risk for sudden death. Fortunately, the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Associates of Oklahoma have successfully diagnosed and treated thousands of cases of sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
Mixed apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses the sufferer, cuing him or her to resume breathing, but consequently, sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. There is also the risk of failing to rouse, which can cause sudden death.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, yet snoring can also be caused by anything from the shape of your sinuses to seasonal allergies, so it is not a definite sign. Each person is different, but many people with sleep apnea also experience one or more of the following:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Noticeable pauses in breathing during sleep
- Nighttime teeth grinding
In mild cases, it is easy to chalk the nearly undetectable symptoms up to other causes such as a poor night’s sleep. When sleep apnea is bad, though, people sometimes report that they awaken during the night feeling like they’re drowning. Some also feel unable to stay awake during the day, no matter how early they go to bed.
A sleep study is the only definitive way to know if you have sleep apnea. These are traditionally held in medical sleep labs. You will be asked to arrive in the late evening with comfortable sleeping attire, your medications, and your morning hygiene supplies. You will change into your sleep clothes and spend the night in a hospital bed connected to numerous monitors. Around 6 or 7 in the morning, you will be awakened and disconnected. You will have the opportunity to shower and brush your teeth before you leave, and you can have your results sent directly to us.
Home Sleep Tests
A home sleep test allows you to sleep in your own bed. You will receive a small monitoring system around the size of a telephone headset, along with detailed instructions for hooking up the various monitors. You will use the equipment for one to three nights and then return the device to the coordinating office and receive your report.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sleep apnea is often treated mechanically with a C-PAP or Bi-PAP machine, or even a small mouth guard. In some cases, though, we can perform a simple oral surgery to correct the problem permanently. Depending on your needs, we can either remove excess tissue from your throat or move your jaw forward to create more room.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Some of the most common signs of sleep apnea include persistent daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, interruptions in breathing during sleep, waking up gasping for air, dry mouth, sore throat, morning headaches, and trouble concentrating.
Can I test myself for sleep apnea?
Yes, if you’d prefer not to go to a medical sleep lab for a traditional sleep study, you can take a sleep test at home using a take-home monitoring system. You’ll be given instructions on how to use it and you’ll put it on just before going to bed for up to three nights.
What happens if sleep apnea is not treated?
Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and stroke. You’ll also be at a higher risk of automobile accidents when you’re not getting the restorative sleep you need to function your best.
How can I treat sleep apnea at home without CPAP?
Many patients find CPAP machines uncomfortable, but other sleep apnea treatment options can be just as effective. These include oral appliance therapy, which repositions the lower jaw while you sleep to keep your airway open, and surgical procedures to remove excess tissue from the throat or adjust the position of the jaw.
Does sleep apnea affect deep sleep?
Yes, sleep apnea prevents you from getting the deep sleep your body needs to perform at optimal levels. Many patients have no memory of waking, but each time a pause in breathing occurs, your body is jolted out of deep sleep.