Obstructive Sleep Apnea affects millions of people all over the United States, and if left untreated, even for a day or two, can increase blood pressure, stress hormones, fat levels, and blood sugar.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea has increased dramatically over the last two decades. Scientists are growing concerned because OSA may shorten your life and can aggravate neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders. Recent research also shows a link between OSA and heart disease.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing while sleeping. According to research, the condition goes undiagnosed 80 to 90 percent of the time. Obesity and advanced aging are also on the rise.
Sleep apnea, which means, “Without Breath,” can occur repeatedly while sleeping. Each episode lasts long enough so that one or more breath is missed. OSA occurs because breathing is interrupted thanks to an airflow block. Most sufferers are not aware of the difficulty breathing, even when they wake up in the morning. Most sleep apnea cases are diagnosed by another person who witnesses the breathing episodes or from a sleep study evaluation.
Who’s at Risk?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can strike anyone at any age, regardless of sex or body type. However, according to Dr. Jack Ringer, a dentist who specializes in oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, people who are male, over 65, obese, or smoke are in the high risk category. Postmenopausal women also have a higher rate of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea symptoms may go on for years, even decades without being diagnosed. Although some may experience sleep apnea symptoms at one point or another, a small percentage of the population becomes afflicted with severe or chronic OSA.
For some, temporary OSA spells occur when alcohol or drugs are consumed as the body relaxes, which can interfere with sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is often misdiagnosed as snoring. However, people who have sleep apnea will gasp or even choke while sleeping as the airways tighten involuntarily. Because the level of oxygen going to the brain is so low, the person will wake up in order to normalize the blood oxygen levels. These episodes can last for a few seconds or even minutes and occur as many as 30 to 40 times every hour.
Health Problems Associated with OSA
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can cause several health problems that are associated with sleep quality. People who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea may suffer from morning headaches, memory or concentration problems, and daytime fatigue.
New research is indicating that sleep apnea may be connected to dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, non-alcoholic liver disease and other serious health issues. According to experts, prolonged blood oxygen level disruption and sleep fragmentation can cause epigenetic changes, and increase inflammation and stem cell exhaustion.
According to Orange County Dentist Dr. Jack Ringer, the massive rates of OSA cases that go undiagnosed and public awareness has made the disorder quite difficult to overcome.
Anaheim Hills Dentist Dr. Jack Ringer is a certified dental sleep medicine practitioner and co-founder and past president of the Orange County Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Dr. Ringer and his dental cosmetics Anaheim Hills team explain that weight loss, exercise and good sleep hygiene are helpful in treating the disorder, however, dental and medical treatments are also available that can help with OSA.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure CPAP
A CPAP machine is used to help people overcome sleep apnea and sleep better. However, CPAP machines can be uncomfortable and are often left unused, as most people just don’t like the device. With a CPAP, pressurized air is generated from a machine.
The air is delivered via a tube that is connected to a mask that covers the nose. The pressure of the air forces the airway open. However, after 12 months of diagnoses, most OSA patients stop using the CPAP because of discomfort, noise, and hassle. Thankfully, a CPAP isn’t the only device that can help chronic sleep apnea sufferers.
Oral Appliance Therapy is Easy and Affordable
Dr. Ringer offers oral appliance therapy Orange County to patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Oral appliance therapy devices require little, if any maintenance and are more affordable than you think and because they work and are comfortable, most sufferers will get used to the oral appliance therapy devices over time.
How Oral Appliance Therapy Works
The oral appliance therapy offered by Anaheim Dentist Dr. Jack Ringer repositions the tongue and the jaw into a forward position while sleeping. This keeps the airway open, which controls snoring while minimizing the symptoms of sleep apnea. With a custom-made oral mouth appliance for sleep apnea, you will get more sleep and have less daytime fatigue.
If you or someone you know suffers from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, call or click and schedule an appointment with Dr. Jack Ringer for oral appliance therapy. It really can make a difference to your overall health.
Call or click for more information today. You really will sleep better.