What is Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft palate and uvula, occurring when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Several things can obstruct the airway and cause you to snore, including allergies drinking before bed, being overweight and having large tonsils or a deviated septum.
If you snore now and then, you probably have nothing to worry about. But chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a more serious sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea stop breathing in their sleep – sometimes up to 100 hundred times an hour – for one minute or longer.
Sleep Apnea and Your Health
Lack of sleep has cascading effects that hamper every system in the body. Everything from digestion to mental concentration and memory retention is impaired. Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your chances of serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. At a minimum, you may feel groggy in the morning or unable to concentrate during the day.
Screening Questions Before Treatment
Some questions we will ask to determine if you have sleep apnea include:
- Do you snore? Snoring is a sign that your airway is constricted.
- Do you feel tired during the day?
- When you wake up, do you feel like you haven’t slept at all?
- Does your partner notice that you stop breathing during the night? Or choke or gasp for air?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
You are at greater risk for sleep apnea if you are 50 or older, and if you have a BMI greater than 28. Men are more likely than women to suffer from sleep apnea.
Other Snoring Problems
Though snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, it can also occur independently. If your excessive snoring is bothering your partner, we have treatment options available. The most nonintrusive method is a simple oral appliance that keeps the tongue from obstructing the airway while you sleep. These appliances are similar to nightguards and orthodontic retainers worn at night.
Sleep Studies: Ares Watermark
To determine if you have sleep apnea, we will need to conduct a sleep study. For this, we offer one of the best devices on the market: the ARES Home Sleep Test Solution. This device is worn on your forehead, with a tube placed over your nostrils. It collects data such as airflow levels, audio recording of snoring, and measurements of head position throughout the night.
Treatment Options Available
- Mandibular Advancement Device: This is a type of oral appliance that keeps your airway clear while sleeping. It moves the tongue and jaw forward to prevent the tongue from impairing your breathing. Over-the-counter options are available, as well as devices custom-crafted to fit your mouth. It should be noted that MADs are not suitable for those who wear dentures or have serious dental issues.
- Vivos Therapy: This is a method for non-surgically reshaping the airway to stop sleep apnea from occurring. Much like Invisalign gradually shifts the position of teeth, Vivos involves a system of oral appliances that gradually broaden your airway. Though the entire process usually takes 18 to 24 months, patients tend to notice improvements in their breathing during the first few weeks. Best of all, once your airway has been reshaped, your sleep apnea is gone forever. This treatment is used for those with obstructive sleep apnea whose breathing problems stem from correctable anatomical defects.
The results last for up to a year, and the procedure can be repeated indefinitely. NightLase is an effective, non-invasive, and highly convenient way to treat sleep apnea.