Sleep apnea (when the tongue and soft palate collapse on the back of the throat, blocking air flow into the lungs) can lead to loud snoring, a number of health problems, disability, and even death. Sleep apnea requires a medical diagnosis and a customized treatment plan which typically consists of lifestyle changes and use of a breathing device.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. It’s caused by the tongue and soft palate collapsing on the back of the throat, blocking air flow to the lungs. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when the throat muscles relax.
There’s also central sleep apnea when your brain and the muscles that control your breathing don’t communicate as they should. Thirdly, complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both and is also known as treatment-emergent sleep apnea. Sleep apnea requires a medical diagnosis and a customized treatment plan which typically consists of lifestyle changes and use of a breathing device.
Common signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, moments of breathlessness during sleep, gasping for air while you sleep, waking up with a dry mouth, waking up with a headache, waking up with extreme fatigue after a full night of sleep, having difficulty staying asleep, having trouble staying awake in the daytime, and noticeable irritability.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a doctor, there are a few treatment routes you can take depending on which form you have. There are various oral appliances our office suggests designed to keep your throat open throughout the night so your breathing is unhindered. The appliances work by bringing your jaw forward, which can relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
You may also be a candidate for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The machine delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep to make sure that the airflow is regulated and consistent. CPAP machines are the most common and reliable method of treating sleep apnea, but many patients find them unnatural and hard to sleep with.
There are a number of devices and procedures available to treat sleep apnea, and Dr. Angart will work with you to find a comfortable solution. It’s possible that you will try more than one treatment plan until you find the one that works, and we’ll help you every step of the way. We’ll schedule follow-up appointments to make sure the plan is working and you’re breathing smoothly through the night.