Millions of people snore. However, there is snoring, and then there is the loud, chronic snoring that comes from a more serious condition known as sleep apnea. The issue with this sleep disorder, the most common form of which is obstructive sleep apnea, is that patients often go undiagnosed for far too long. This lack of diagnosis could be because it is easy to think that the problem is "just snoring," or it could be because sleep apnea patients often never fully wake as breathing is constantly interrupted during sleep.
Let's look at the difference between obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. A person might snore because the airway is somewhat blocked, due to congestion, a deviated septum, or some other condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition wherein airflow actually becomes fully blocked, depriving the brain from vital oxygen. The natural response to this lack of oxygen is the disturbance of sleep. This process constitutes the standard apnea episode, of which hundreds can occur every night.
Snoring is not the only symptom of sleep apnea, which can help patients in question better determine if they may be affected by this sleep disorder. Some symptoms to pay attention to include:
- Heavy, chronic snoring with pauses in breathing
- Gasping during sleep
- Excessive sleepiness regardless of hours spent sleeping
- Restless sleep
- Persistently waking with headaches or sore throat
- Persistent irritability or moodiness
- Development or worsening of anxiety or depression
- Foggy thinking and inability to concentrate
An alternative to CPAP treatment is found in our office, where we make a collaborated effort with a patient’s general physician to treat sleep apnea effectively using Oral Appliance Therapy. Some of the benefits that come from this approach include:
- Trustworthy, precision-made appliances that have been tested and approved by the FDA.
- Significant improvement in symptoms like daytime sleepiness and oxygen saturation. Studies have shown that patients treated with oral appliance therapy experience an 83% decrease in their average Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI). Over 95 percent of patients surveyed reported improvement of apnea symptoms using this therapy.
- Oral appliance therapy produces three times greater compliance rates than CPAP.
Some benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy over CPAP include:
- The appliance fits entirely inside your mouth
- You can move about freely while wearing it
- You can speak and drink fluids while wearing it
- You can sleep in any position
- It is light, portable and easy to travel with
If you are a physician treating sleep apnea, we would love to collaborate with you to restore your patients' sleep effectively.