The Waxahachie Patient’s Guide
Treating Sleep Apnea: CPAP & its Alternatives
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder caused by the obstruction of the airway. It can stop you from sleeping and keep you feeling tired, sapping you from energy, motivation, and livelihood.
Sleep apnea can be serious and it’s recommended you seek treatment if you snore loudly, wake up at night short of breath, or if you feel drowsy throughout the day.
The CPAP is the traditional treatment for sleep apnea. It delivers pressurized air through a mask, helping to keep your airway open so that you can get a good night’s rest. However, many patients dislike their CPAP because it’s bulky, loud, and uncomfortable to wear.
For mild-to-moderate cases of sleep apnea, a snore or mouth guard offers a more convenient, more comfortable solution that is just as effective.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Overall Health
Sleep apnea and your overall health go hand-in-hand. In fact, they can reinforce each other. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, and people with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, and weight gain.
Up to 80% of patients with type 2 diabetes also experience sleep apnea, while the sleep disorder can also raise the likelihood of adult asthma and acid reflux.
It’s important to seek treatment for sleep apnea if you experience its symptoms precisely because of these connections. Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can kill. And with solutions as convenient as an oral appliance, there’s no excuse for not taking the step that can completely change your life for the better.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Many people, about 90 million Americans, snore in their sleep. About half of all people who snore suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The two are often confused, which is why many people affected by sleep apnea never seek treatment. It’s important to have a proper sleep study done so that your condition can be accurately diagnosed and treated.
Note that both sleep apnea and snoring can be relieved with treatment. The device that is right for you, and would provide the best results, depends on the diagnosis.
The first step to changing your life and your partner’s — they suffer the consequences of your snoring as well! — starts with a sleep study. We would be happy to refer you to a sleep specialist we know and trust.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is an underdiagnosed yet serious sleep disorder that can affect your everyday life. While there are a couple of types of sleep apnea, the most common type is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in your airway while you’re asleep.
Anyone can develop OSA, but you’re more at risk if you’re overweight, smoke, have a thicker neck, and the risk increases as you grow older.
Are sleep apnea and snoring the same thing?
While snoring is one of the most noticeable symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring isn’t necessarily a sign of sleep apnea. It’s possible that your snoring isn’t indicative of a health issue but if you snore loudly and consistently, we recommend undergoing a sleep study to make sure you’re healthy.
Snoring can also affect your personal relationships, especially if you sleep in bed with a spouse or significant other. Your snoring may deprive your partner of sleep, leading to resentment and health issues from sleep deprivation.
Thankfully, oral appliances for sleep apnea are also effective for snoring. Dr. Clinton can help you stop snoring so you can sleep peacefully in the same bed with your significant other.
Can sleep apnea be cured?
Most treatments for sleep apnea are not cures, but CPAP and oral appliances can effectively improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. There are few permanent treatment options for sleep apnea, such as surgery, but these are often used as a last resort because there may be side effects.
Though you’ll have to sleep with a mouthpiece every night, these treatments can change your life. They’ll help you to sleep better and reduce your risk of serious health conditions. Oral appliances are also convenient and comfortable, so they’re easy to sleep with.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a sleep study, or polysomnography, conducted by a physician. Sleep studies take place at either a sleep clinic where your sleep is monitored by a team of experts or through a take-home sleep test.
The test measures your airflow, heart rate, and bodily activity to help a doctor determine if you have a sleep disorder and what kind of disorder you have. A sleep study can show how severe your sleep apnea is and how many times you wake up throughout the night.
Only a physician can diagnose your sleep apnea. If you’re unsure where to go for a sleep test, Dr. Clinton can refer you to a trusted doctor for a diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, Dr. Clinton can help you find the sleep apnea treatment that works for you.
When is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea is dangerous because it deprives your body of sleep and your brain of oxygen every night you go without treatment. While you may believe a mild case of sleep apnea doesn’t require treatment, you could be endangering your life and worsening your health.
Some of the health conditions related to sleep apnea include heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. But the dangers of sleep apnea aren’t only physical — anxiety and depression are also associated with this sleep disorder.
For this reason, it’s important to seek a diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea as soon as you suspect you might have it. Treatment can make a big difference in your life and enable you to live healthily and have the energy to spend time with your loved ones.
Why does sleep apnea occur?
Sleep apnea occurs when you can’t breathe while you’re asleep — most often, this is the result of some obstruction in your airway. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a person’s throat or mouth shape and any additional tissue that causes the airway to be blocked.
While you may be able to breathe during the day, your throat and mouth muscles relax when you sleep. If you can’t breathe while you’re asleep, your brain will trigger your body to momentarily wake up and resume airflow.
Though you may wake up many times throughout the night, it’s possible you won’t remember any of those instances.