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?

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

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?

Symptoms of TMJ You Should Know About

0429The temporomandibular joint, which activates the jaw, is the most used joint in the body. As such, it can create a melting pot of difficulties if inflammation or disarticulation occurs. You may suddenly have difficulty eating or speaking, meaning your temporomandibularjoint is compromised. Or you may start having strange inexplicable pain in your jaw or neck. At the end of these difficulties could lie lockjaw, or a number of other unpleasant scenarios.

Since there are several causes of TMJ, including arthritis and autoimmune factors, all you can really do at first is identify your symptoms. Here is an incomplete list of common TMJ symptoms:

• Clicking sounds in the jaw while chewing
• Headaches accompanied by dizziness
• Mysterious earaches or toothaches
• Inability to close the jaw completely
• Jaw muscle stiffness or spasms
• Ringing in the ears

TMJ can also be asymptomatic, and you may not even know you have it. That may sound preferable to pain or swelling, but the sooner you know you have TMJ, the sooner you can see your doctor. TMJ is treatable, with both pharmaceuticals and things like stress reduction. But your TMJ specialist cannot begin to treat you without the relevant details.

Symptoms of TMJ You Should Know About

How is Severe Sleep Apnea Different?

depressionen im alterWhen 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.

How is Severe Sleep Apnea Different?