Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic disorder characterized by intermittent pauses in breathing throughout the night. Left untreated, it can lead to a host of scary health problems, including mental confusion, obesity, diabetes, and even heart attack and stroke.
Is there a chance that you or your sleep partner is suffering from this nighttime disorder? Here are five symptoms to watch out for:
- Frequent loud snoring, especially if it’s accompanied by a gasping or choking sound. Everyone snores occasionally, but people with OSA will snore like this on a regular basis.
- Waking up at night to go to the bathroom. Again, everyone does this occasionally, but if you find yourself waking up more than once or twice every night, it could be a sign of a sleep disturbance.
- Morning headaches and grogginess. How do you feel when you wake up? Normal sleepers feel energized and refreshed after a full night’s sleep.
- Daytime sleepiness. If you find yourself nodding off on a regular basis, it could be a sign you’re not getting the restful sleep you need at night.
- Memory problems. Always losing your keys or forgetting your phone? You might chalk it up to middle age, but forgetfulness is a common sign you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea can range in severity, and several treatments exist. Many patients are prescribed CPAP therapy, which uses a machine, tube and mask to maintain continuous pressure on the airway. Although it works, many people become frustrated with the hassle, discomfort and, difficulty in maintaining and traveling with the machine.
One popular and effective alternative is dental appliance therapy, which involves a custom-fitted piece worn in the mouth like a night guard. These FDA-approved devices work by positioning the mouth to prevent soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns. Unlike CPAP, no machine or mask is required. Some patients use dental appliances exclusively; others prefer to use them when they travel and save the CPAP for home use.
Dr. Files offers several types of oral appliances, but generally recommends the SomnoMed MAS device for most patients. It’s extremely comfortable, and is the most effective for treating severe snoring and sleep apnea. He also offers the SUAD device for those who have severe bruxism in addition to sleep apnea, as well as the time-tested Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP), which certain patients prefer.
You can find out more about sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy at http://sleepapnearedmond.com, or by calling Dr. Files to schedule your free snoring and sleep apnea consultation today.