Sleep Apnea Orland Park
Sleep Apnea Orland Park Screening at Complete Dentistry
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by a reduction or pause of breathing (airflow) during sleep. It is common among adults but rare among children. Although a diagnosis of sleep apnea often will be suspected on the basis of a person’s medical history, there are several tests that can be used to confirm the diagnosis. The treatment of sleep apnea can be either surgical or nonsurgical. If you live in the Orland Park area and suspect you may have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment now using the green button to the right.
An apnea is a period of time during which breathing stops or is markedly reduced. In simplified terms, an apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more. If a person stops breathing completely or take less than 25% of a normal breath for a period that lasts 10 seconds or more, this is an apnea. This definition includes complete stoppage of airflow. Other definitions of apnea that may be used include at least a 4% drop in oxygen in the blood, a direct result of the reduction in the transfer of oxygen into the blood when breathing stops.
The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) is an index of severity that combines apneas and hypopneas. Combining them gives an overall severity of sleep apnea including sleep disruptions and desaturations (a low level of oxygen in the blood). The apnea-hypopnea index, like the apnea index and hypopnea index, is calculated by dividing the number of apneas and hypopneas by the number of hours of sleep.
What is obstructive sleep apnea and what causes it?
In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), apneas have four components.
- First, the airway collapses or becomes obstructed.
- Second, an effort is made to take a breath, but it is unsuccessful.
- Third, the oxygen level in the blood drops as a result of unsuccessful breathing.
- Finally, when the amount of oxygen reaching the brain decreases, the brain signals the body to wake up and take a breath. (This is what the bed partner hears as a silence followed by a gasp for air.)
First, it is necessary to describe a “normal breath.” A normal breath of air passes through the nasal passages, behind the soft palate and uvula (part of the soft palate), then past the tongue base, through the throat muscles, and between the vocal cords into the lungs. An obstruction to the flow of air at any of these levels may lead to apnea. The following are some examples:
- airflow can become diminished if a person has a deviated septum (the middle wall of the nose that separates the two nostrils). A septum can be deviated to one or both sides narrowing the air passages;
- there are filters in the nose called turbinates that can obstruct airflow when they become swollen;
- if the palate and uvula (the part of soft palate that hangs down in the back of the throat) are long or floppy, they can fall backwards and close the area through which air flows;
- the back of the tongue can also fall backwards and obstruct breathing especially when individuals lay flat on their backs; or
- the side walls of the throat can fall together to narrow or close the airway.
- Men are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than women before age 50.
- After age 50, the risk is the same in men and women.
- Among obese patients, 70% have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea worsens in severity and prevalence with increasing obesity.
- Among patients with heart disease 30% to 50% have obstructive sleep apnea, and among patients with strokes, 60% have obstructive sleep apnea.
What are some of the complications of sleep apnea?
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be a risk factor for the development of other medical conditions. High blood pressure (hypertension), heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, atherosclerotic heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, insulin resistance, and even death are some of the known complications of untreated obstructive sleep apnea. Cognitive impairment (memory problems), depression, anxiety, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are also among possible complications of untreated sleep apnea.
What are obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?
Obstructive sleep apnea has many well-studied consequences. First, as one would expect, it disrupts sleep. Patients with disrupted sleep cannot concentrate, think, or remember as well during the day. This has been shown to cause more accidents in the work place and while driving. Thus, people with obstructive sleep apnea have a three-fold greater risk of a car accident than the general population.
Sleep apnea symptoms at night time include:
- Snoring, usually loud and bothersome to others
- Gasping for air, witnessed apneas, or choking sensation
- Restless sleep
Sleep apnea also can cause significant and sometimes serious daytime symptoms as a result of insufficient sleep at night, including:
- daytime sleepiness
- nonrestorative sleep (feeling as tired in the morning as before going to bed)
- frequent day time naps
- poor memory and attention
- mood and personality changes, such as depression and anxiety
- sexual dysfunction
What are the nonsurgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
A dental appliance is similar to a mouthpiece and holds the jaw and tongue forward and the palate up, thus preventing closure of the airway. This small increase in airway size often is enough to control the apneas.
Dental appliances are an excellent treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It is reported to be about 75% effective for these groups. A dental appliance does not require surgery; it is small, portable, and does not require a machine. However, there are some disadvantages to the dental appliance. It can cause or worsen temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. If the jaw is pulled too far forward, it can cause pain in the joint when eating. For this reason, it is best to have a dentist or oral surgeon fit and adjust the appliance. A dental appliance requires natural teeth to fit properly, it must be worn every night, and the cost is variable, as is insurance coverage.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is probably the best, non-surgical treatment for any level of obstructive sleep apnea. In finding a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, the primary goal is to hold the airway open so it does not collapse during sleep. The dental appliances and surgeries (described later) focus on moving the tissues of the airway. CPAP uses air pressure to hold the tissues open during sleep.
CPAP was first used in Australia by Dr. Colin Sullivan in 1981 for obstructive sleep apnea. It delivers the air through a nasal or face-mask under pressure. As a person breathes, the gentle pressure holds the nose, palate, and throat tissues open. It feels similar to holding one’s head outside the window of a moving car. A person can feel the pressure, but can can also breathe easily.
The CPAP machine blows heated, humidified air through a short tube to a mask. The mask must be worn snugly to prevent the leakage of air. There are many different masks, including nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks. The CPAP machine is a little larger than a toaster. It is portable and can be taken on trips.
Call Complete Dentistry today at (877) 478-1353 for a sleep apnea Orland Park screening to determine if sleep apnea may affect you.
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