If you or someone you love suffers from this disorder, you probably have questions. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently received questions about OSA, asked by sleep apnea patients just like you in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire.
What happens when you have OSA?
A person with OSA experiences airway obstructions—usually because of a collapse of soft tissue in the throat, or the tongue sliding back into the airway. This blockage disrupts breathing—often totally cutting off airflow. Oxygen levels begin to drop, eventually alarming the brain to send signals to your body to resume regular breathing. Each time one of these blockages occurs, it is known as an “apneic event.” Someone with an advanced, untreated case of OSA may experience apneic events hundreds of times per night. People with sleep apnea may never wake up during the night, but every apneic event disrupts the sleep cycle. This means you spend less time in the deepest stage of sleep, which rejuvenates the mind as well as the body.
What are the symptoms of OSA?
Loud, frequent snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea.
Other symptoms during sleep include:
- Apparent interruptions in breathing
- Making choking or gasping sounds while sleeping
- Restless sleep, or frequent tossing and turning
- Daytime fatigue
- Poor performance at work and/or school
- Sudden mood swings or irritability
- Diminished sex drive, including impotence
- Otherwise unexplained weight gain
- Memory problems
In children, the symptoms of OSA often mimic those of a hyperactivity disorder such as ADD or ADHD.
Why is treatment for OSA so important?
Living with sleep loss can have devastating long-term consequences on your health and wellness.
If a case of sleep apnea goes untreated, it can increase your risk of several chronic, life-threatening ailments, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Chronic fatigue
- Cognitive decline
How does Lake Forest Smiles treat OSA?
While only a sleep specialist can make an official diagnosis of OSA, a sleep apnea dentist can provide treatment for the disorder by focusing on airway management. Depending on your case, Drs. Campbell and Schmidt may recommend oral appliance therapy. This method has a high compliance rate and entails wearing a custom-made mouthpiece that re-aligns your lower jaw into its ideal resting position, maintaining an open airway while you sleep. Treatment may consist of combining oral appliance therapy with CPAP in severe cases.
What causes sleep apnea?
The following factors can increase your risk of OSA:
- Being overweight
- Having a large tongue and/or tonsils
- The shape of your head and neck, which may impact or restrict your airway
- High blood pressure
Men are more susceptible to OSA than women, although it is important to remember this sleep breathing disorder can affect people of any age.
Treating Sleep Apnea in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire
You deserve quality, restful sleep. Living with OSA makes that impossible. If sleep apnea affects you or someone you love, or you notice any combination of the symptoms listed above, let the sleep apnea dentists at Lake Forest Smiles help. Call (847) 234-4800 to schedule a consultation if you live in the areas of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, or Lincolnshire.