Tischler & Patch Dental on May 22, 2017

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder characterized by shallow or interrupted breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from several seconds to minutes and can occur multiple times during the night – sometimes as much as 30 times an hour. Normal breathing often starts up again with a loud snort or choking sound. This interruption moves a patient from deep to light sleep.

At Hudson Valley Sleep Solutions, our team focuses on providing non-surgical solutions to obstructive sleep apnea. For more serious cases requiring surgical intervention, we refer patients to a trusted network of oral surgeons.

 

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central. Although the symptoms of each condition are largely the same, the causes and treatments differ.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by a blockage or collapse of the airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This can be caused by excess tissue or an over-large tongue sliding back during sleep and blocking the airways. The force of the air trying to get through causes exceptionally loud snoring.  Of the two kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the more common condition.

Central Sleep Apnea is the rarer form of sleep apnea. The problem is neural rather than physical. The centers of the brain, which control breathing, fail to send the correct signals to the lungs and associated muscles, leading to interrupted breathing. This condition is often tied to certain medical conditions or medicines, although it may occur in conjunction with obstructive sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is not associated with loud snoring.

Central sleep apnea is far more complex than obstructive sleep apnea, and requires the attention of a specialist.

Symptoms & Long Term Effects

The Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include both Physical and Emotional Manifestations including:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Dry Mouth & Throat
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Mood Swings
  • Inability to Focus
  • Poor Memory
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression

 

Read more about the Risks of Not Treating Sleep Apnea

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for sleep apnea. It is a lifelong condition that requires long-term care. However, several treatments are available to alleviate its effects. The type of sleep apnea you suffer from and your medical needs will determine the appropriate treatment:

  • Oral Devices: These retainer-like devices are worn at night to prevent airway obstructions. Depending on the cause of the issue, they can keep the tongue or any potential physical obstructions in place, as well as shift the jaw forward to open the airway further. Dr. Patch can perform maintenance on these devices to ensure they perform properly and remain a good fit.

 

  • Breathing Devices: In some cases, Dr. Patch may recommend a device that maintains airflow throughout the night. Called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, the device uses mild air pressure to keep airways open. Typically, air is pumped in through a mask placed over the nose and mouth. Though effective, several patients find this device uncomfortable and difficult to get used to.

 

  • Lifestyle Changes: Because obstructive sleep apnea is closely tied to obesity, regular exercise and weight loss can make a big difference in alleviating the effects of the condition.

Sleep Apnea Testing

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that requires effective treatment to avoid serious complications.

Dr. Claudia Patch and Dr. Bethany Wong have undergone advanced training with Sleep Group Solutions to provide personalized treatment that helps patients manage sleep apnea and improve their quality of life. Together with certified physicians, our team can help you determine the cause of your sleep issues and how best to treat them.

In order to choose the best option for your needs, you will need to undergo sleep apnea testing with the help of our Hudson Valley, New York team.

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