What Sleep Apnea Doctors Can Do for You

Snoring man, frustrated woman

Sleep specialists come from outlying areas of medicine. Some are otolaryngologists, some are pulmonologists. Others are even psychiatrists. This kind of extramural training can be essential to deciphering all the moving parts of a sleep apnea diagnosis. You may not have sleep apnea just because you snore. Sleep apnea symptoms can present as chronic fatigue or loss of cognition. You may need a sleep study to fully know.

If it comes to a sleep study, you can easily find one in your area that’s board-certified. A team of specialists working together, studying your sleep behavior in real time, can put you on the fastest road to recovery.

If you choose to forego the formality of a sleep study, or if the insurance you have won’t cover a specialist without a referral, our sleep apnea doctor can recommend several at-home recourses to try. These involve lifestyle shifts, like drinking less and quitting smoking. A healthier diet can reduce stress and help you lose weight. Try healthy fats and all the protein you can eat, as well as high-fiber foods like sprouted beans and ancient whole grains. Obesity is one of the most common links to sleep apnea, especially in older males.

To get started in a sleep apnea education, contact our sleep apnea doctor.

What Sleep Apnea Doctors Can Do for You

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

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A sleep apnea diagnosis can only be delivered by a doctor certified in sleep medicine. Such a diagnosis may require several rounds of testing, starting with a sleep journal you keep yourself and continuing through a full night’s sleep under observation, at a designated site. Using information gathered by a full array of body sensors, our Thousand Oaks sleep apnea doctor can make a diagnosis and start talking treatment.

The most commonly-used weapon against sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, which is exerted using a regulator and mask. The mask keeps your airway open during sleep, while the regulator lowers blood pressure. Most cases see results with CPAP. However, the mask is an intrusion not all claustrophobes can handle. Alternative treatments include oral appliances, which look like ordinary mouth guards but either hold the tongue back or the jaw forward, depending on your physicality.

Another option if CPAP doesn’t work is the Winx system, which manipulates the soft palate and uvula to enlarge the upper airway.

Before prescribing CPAP for sleep apnea treatment, the doctor may suggest simple lifestyle fixes, like weight loss or quitting drinking or smoking. Personal habits inform your sleep schedule, and your body’s status while at rest, more than you know.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Relief from Sleep Apnea

Snoring man, frustrated woman

Sleep apnea patients suffer from a severe lack of sleep. The limited amount of air into the system leads to a deficiency of full REM cycle sleep, repeated waking during the night, and disruptive snoring. This lack of quality sleep can cause many symptoms and risks during the day, ranging from some minor issues such as moodiness, listlessness, and excessive hunger, to more serious issues such as heart complications and depression. So how do the experts at our sleep apnea center help provide relief for sleep apnea patients?

Some patients see success from simple lifestyle changes. Weight loss can create more space in the throat, allowing for more air to flow through. Changing the sleeping position, from lying on the back to on the side for example, may show some results, as well.

If more relief is needed, an oral appliance may be recommended. These mouth guard-like appliances are worn at night and shift the lower jaw, or both the lower jaw and tongue, forward. This repositions the muscles and tissues in the throat and allows for more space for air.

Many patients use CPAP machines, which stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. This provides constant air into the system via tubes connected to the mouth and nose. Visit our expert today to learn more about effective sleep apnea relief tactics.

Relief from Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea and Shortness of Breath

Snoring man, frustrated woman

Sleep apnea is characterized by several breathing difficulties. The airway may be impacted by genetic factors, such as an overlarge tongue, or it may be compressed by body weight. Shortness of breath is often reported by sleep apnea sufferers, especially the overweight.

Sleep apnea researchers are divided on whether or not apnea can cause shortness of breath during the day, so you should tell your doctor if you have this. It may be indicative of a respiratory, autoimmune, or cardiac condition.

Shortness of breath can also be caused by reflux or esophageal spams. These are at least indirectly related to sleep apnea. If the patient is overweight, breathing difficulty may even lead to anxiety or panic attacks.

During sleep, the body will wake itself up if oxygen deprivation is detected. This process can happen as many as 30 times per hour of sleep in severe cases. Naturally, these constant interruptions leave the patient tired, irritable, and subject to headache during the day.

Causes of sleep apnea include obesity, drinking and smoking habits, neck circumference, and being male—sleep apnea is more common in men. Obviously, there are lifestyle changes you can make to get yourself out of the risk area. Try to lose weight, and try to quit smoking.

For information on sleep apnea centers, contact someone from our group.

Sleep Apnea and Shortness of Breath

Types of Sleep Apnea

Snoring man and young woman. Couple sleeping in bed.

Sleep apnea is a well-known condition with well-known symptoms. However, causes and treatments can cover a wide range of information. For starters, you should familiarize yourself with the three main types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

This is the most common apnea, and afflicts approximately 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women. It is caused by partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep. This reduces blood flow to the brain, which then wakes the body up in a kind of panic. Even if you do not wake fully, a sleep disturbance is registered. These tend to add up, sometimes occurring hundreds of times per night.

Central sleep apnea

Whereas obstructive sleep apnea is body-based, this particular sleep dysfunction is more brain-based. It has been linked to Parkinson’s and other diseases of the brainstem. Here, the sleep disturbance is caused by tiny, but consistent, cognitive short-circuits, which keep the brain from signaling the muscles that control airflow.

Mixed sleep apnea

Obviously, this is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apneas. A number of obstructive sleep apnea patients, after being treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machinery, tend to oddly develop symptoms of central sleep apnea. This is usually managed by adjusting settings on the CPAP machine to ensure the patient gets the lowest velocity of airflow.

Types of Sleep Apnea

What is Central Sleep Apnea?

Many patients are unaware that there are two different types of sleep apnea. The type that most are familiar with is obstructive sleep apnea, where muscles block air from coming through the airway passage, causing complications during sleep. The other type is central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is very different than obstructive. The muscles in the mouth and the throat are actually not factors at all in this case – it is actually much more complicated. Central sleep apnea concerns the brain, which stops the breathing function of the system while the patient sleeps.

Many of the symptoms, however, are the same. Patients will wake up dozens of times a night in order to prompt breathing again. Fatigue, listlessness, moodiness, and other behavioral changes are common due to the lack of REM sleep. If left untreated for too long, serious health issues and depression could arise.

Treatment for central sleep apnea usually employs CPAP machines. These are medium-sized devices that work to provide a constant stream of air into the nose and/or mouth, triggering the breathing process externally. This treatment is usually successful in eliminating the symptoms of central sleep apnea.

What is Central Sleep Apnea?

Do Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Really Work?

0123.jpgSleep apnea is a disorder suffered by nearly eighteen million Americans today. That means one out of every fifteen people life their lives without the necessary amount of REM sleep, which can lead to headaches, weight gain, depression, and many other symptoms. Fortunately, experts frequently utilize several different types of treatments in order to supply oxygen through the air passageways and eliminate all symptoms.

One of these treatments is by using an oral appliance. Much like mouth guards, these appliances fit around the teeth, and are worn when the patient sleeps. They may feel uncomfortable at first, but are unnoticeable after some time, and much more simple than CPAP machines. Oral appliances work to push your jaw, or both your jaw and tongue, into a forward position. This affects the muscle sin the throat and air passageways, effectively keeping them open and allowing air through.

While not every patient sees success with oral appliances, many report back to our expert in sleep apnea oral appliances in Thousand Oaks that they now get much higher quality sleep and have seen their symptoms disappear.

If you think you have sleep apnea and can benefit from an oral appliance, call our office to schedule an appointment today.

Do Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Really Work?