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Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

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Sleep Apnea Disorder Options for Treatment

Sleep Apnea is a disorder when you quit breathing during your sleep. It is a serious medical condition that can lead to any one of a number of negative side effects. It is a growing health issue that affects more than 18 million Americans today. This includes men, women and children. The majority actually go undiagnosed. Adults with sleep apnea have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes and die earlier. There have been studies that show a tissue loss in the brain now linking sleep apnea with memory loss. It is also related to motor vehicle accidents due to daytime drowsiness due to the lack of quality sleep. Due to so many cases going untreated the health industry claims that sleep apnea may cost the US an additional $3.4 billion dollars in added medical costs.

Children with sleep apnea and breathing disorders can suffer from behavioral problems and will have a lower IQ score. We’ll first look at the different types of sleep apnea, what cause the disorder, the possible side effects if left unattended and the different solutions available today to correct sleep apnea.

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The Different Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three different types of sleep apnea. The lion’s share or almost 85% are OSA, which stands for obstructive sleep apnea. This type is all about the airway that is collapsing or too narrow. CSA, or central sleep apnea, is less than 1%. This unusual situation is related to the brain’s respiratory control center getting imbalanced during sleep. The third is a combination of both.

What Causes This Disorder

The human airway is composed of collapsible walls of soft tissue. These ordinarily relax during sleep. This can all be compounded and turn into this sleep disorder if you have low muscle tone or structural features that risk narrowing the airway. The risks increase with additional body weight such as obesity, actively smoking and an increase in age.

There are other risk factors such as a large neck, enlarged tonsils or larger tongue, small jaw bone, allergies, sinus problems, a deviated septum or a family history of having issues sleeping.

Some common symptoms that might suggest you have sleep apnea are loud snoring, snorting or choking sounds during the night, waking up in the middle of the night short of breath, restless sleep and getting tired and sleepy during the day due to a lack of quality sleep. You might experience headaches when you wake up also.

Experience during Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from this condition your breathing stops periodically as you sleep. This can happen sometimes up to 20 to 30 times an hour. So, each time you stop breathing due to an airway obstruction the first result is the lack of oxygen getting to your lungs. Your brain is alerted which sends your body a warning that temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing again. This constant wake-sleep-wake-sleep cycle prevents you from achieving the deep sleep your body needs to function properly.

The Possible Solutions for Sleep Apnea

Orthodontists like Dr. Pan are becoming more involved in sleep apnea. Especially with children, Dr. Pan can take preventative measures to help the child from not having to deal with the disorder their entire lives. Often times the upper jaw is too narrow and will be evident with the bite pattern. The jaw can be easily expanded with a device that Dr. Pan can install to push apart the molars. This effort will then also open up the airway as the child grows.

The behavioral therapy is a foundational starting point to begin treatment. Several easy treatments to improve the disorder are to avoid alcohol or other muscle relaxants, quit smoking and use this as your reason to lose weight. Once one or several of these has been put into place there are other treatments.

A very common solution is the introduction of the CPAP machine. This stands for continuous positive airway pressure and was first used in 1981. The device applies and maintains mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep your airway open by not allowing it to collapse or become blocked. However, it is a cumbersome machine to use for a lifetime. Thus, people seek other solutions to replace CPAP. There are different oral devices that can be positioned in the mouth to prevent throat blockage. However, they can cause TMD, bite change and other side effects.

Surgery in combination with orthodontics is considered the most effective in airway improvement because it permanently changes the anatomy and functions of our oral-facial structure that was the cause of the problem in the first place. It is possible that your upper jaw can be corrected or the base of your tongue changed. Ask Dr. Pan how we can help in this life-changing procedure to improve your quality of life.

The Life Style Improvements after Correction

Needless to say, we spend a lot of time attempting to put a value on our smile. But what is the value of a good night’s sleep? If you have a friend, roommate or family member that might be suffering from sleep apnea suggest that they schedule an appointment to have an evaluation. If it is a child it can be possibly corrected permanently.

If it is an adult the suggested solutions can be huge in their overall health. Whether it is the catalyst to lose weight or quite smoking it could make a dramatic impact on the amount of sleep their body can get moving forward and the quality of life they will experience being well rested day after day. To proactively eliminate it as a risk for a heart attack or a stroke speaks for itself in those documented health hazards.

Regularly scheduled visits to a dentist is also not only healthy for your oral hygiene but also for this disorder. Orthodontists are key role players in diagnosing sleep apnea in children when they do a thorough evaluation of the teeth and gums, mouth, jaws, facial structure, etc. They can introduce a screening process that will confirm if there are issues that you as a parent may not have been aware of. Some simple questions can open many doors. Orthodontists, such as Dr. Pan, are well-versed in addressing this sleep disorder. They can play an important role in helping and improving the disorder in adults as well. What does a good night’s sleep mean to you?

Meet Dr. Pan

Pan Orthodontics Philosophy

To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.

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