Sometimes it seems like the spouses of sleep apnea sufferers are the ones with the sleep problems, as they fear for the health and safety of their loves ones.
Following are some sleep apnea treatment options that can help you and your spouse get the restful night’s sleep that you need.
But first, what is sleep apnea, and what are the consequences?
3 Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles and soft tissue of the esophagus relax, obstructing the airway. Also known as OSA, this is the most common type.
- Central sleep apnea involves a misfiring of messages from the brain.
- Mixed sleep apnea, as its name suggests, combines both airway obstruction and brain signal problems.
In addition to depriving the body of much-needed sleep, sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications, such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, depression, and worsening of ADHD.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, fatigue, waking up choking or gasping, morning headaches, insomnia, and mood changes. Based on one or more of these symptoms, a doctor might recommend a sleep study, or polysomnogram. A qualified sleep specialist will review this test to diagnose the sleep disorder.
One of the most common ways to treat sleep apnea is with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In this sleep apnea treatment, a mask is worn over the nose and/or mouth, and delivers a continuous flow of air, forcing the airway open. While the machine is highly effective, it is also uncomfortable and noisy, which is why many patients fail to use it on a regular basis.
Dental appliances also can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea by keeping the airway open during sleep. One of these devices, SomnoDent® MAS, is a splint that keeps the lower jaw in the correct position to allow unobstructed breathing. Unlike with CPAP, patients can talk, speak, and drink while wearing SomnoDent. Dentists who are specially qualified to treat sleep apnea design these dental devices.
If a sleep specialist recommends a dental appliance as the best sleep apnea treatment option for you or your loved one, call our Houston dentists for a sleep apnea consultation today.