When measuring sleep apnea, it is normally evaluated using the Apnea–Hypopnea Index. This index measures the number of events that occur within one hour of sleep. An event can be characterized as a person experiencing either an apnea or a hypopnea as they sleep. An apnea can be defined as a complete cessation of breathing for at least 10 seconds. A hypopnea can be defined as a 50 percent reduction in airflow for at least 10 seconds. A measure of 5-15 on the index indicates mild sleep apnea, 15-30 indicates moderate sleep apnea, and anything over 30 is considered severe sleep apnea.
When treating severe sleep apnea, it is recommended that the patient discontinue the use of alcohol and tobacco. If they are obese, weight loss is also strongly advised. Mandibular advancement devices can be used that gently extend the lower jaw as a patient sleeps, preventing the tongue and soft tissues from falling back on their airway. In other cases, a continuous positive airway pressure device may be recommended. This device uses air pressure to keep the airways open. In some cases, both devices may be combined for treatment.
If you think you be suffering from severe sleep apnea, contact our expert in severe sleep apnea in Thousand Oaks to schedule a consultation.