Sleep apnea is a common condition that involves breathing problems during sleep. The throat muscles relax and block the airway. Snoring is disrupted air flow; sleep apnea is a blockage of air flow. Sleep apnea affects about 18 million people in the U.S. and patients with sleep apnea often experience loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Patients with sleep apnea can experience loss of air flow hundreds of times per night, sometimes for a minute or longer.
Because sufferers are roused from sleep briefly to resume proper breathing, disrupting and lowering the quality of a person’s rest, sleep apnea can cause a number of problems. If left untreated, it can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, headaches, and daytime fatigue leading to job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Sleep apnea should always be diagnosed by a sleep specialist.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are also very effective for treating snoring. If you’re interested in an oral appliance for sleep apnea or snoring, talk with Dr. Dulac to discuss which oral appliance is right for you.