Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. OSA is a chronic condition that occurs when our muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep. Common signs of OSA include snoring and gasping or choking sound during sleep. Like snoring, OSA is more common in men, but can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Untreated OSA raises your risk for serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, chronic acid reflux, and erectile dysfunction.
How is OSA diagnosed?
A doctor must determine if your snoring is a sign that you have OSA. A physician who is a sleep specialist can provide you with a complete sleep evaluation. This may involve either an overnight sleep study at a sleep center or a home sleep apnea test. The sleep doctor will interpret the data from your sleep study to make a diagnosis.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the traditional medical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP requires a mask, over the nose and mouth, connected to a hose that blows air to it from a constantly running machine. Although CPAP is effective in treating OSA, many patients find it uncomfortable, noisy, and difficult to travel with.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is another treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and can be an effective alternative treatment to CPAP. Administered by a dentist, oral appliance therapy uses a custom-fit “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. The type of appliance is best chosen after an examination and consultation with a dental specialist.
Did you know there are thousands of dentists trained to help treat and manage your snoring and sleep apnea? The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is an association of dentists who help patients control obstructive sleep apnea and snoring through the use of oral appliance therapy (OAT). If you have trouble tolerating Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and need an effective alternative for living with sleep apnea, call us to today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how OAT can help you get a good night’s rest.
For more information visit: www.aadsm.org
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
The following is an Epworth Sleepiness Scale which can be used to assess daytime sleepiness. This can be helpful in determining if an individual is attaining adequate amounts of restful sleep.
How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in contrast to felling just tired? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you haven’t done some of these things recently try to work out how they would have affected you.
Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
0 = would never doze or sleep
1 = slight chance of dozing or sleeping
2 = moderate chance of dozing or sleeping
3 = high chance of dozing or sleeping
It is important that you answer each question as best you can.
Sitting and reading_________________________________________ 0 1 2 3
Watching TV_____________________________________________ 0 1 2 3
Sitting, inactive in a public place (e.g. a theatre or a meeting)______ 0 1 2 3
As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break______________ 0 1 2 3
Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit_____0 1 2 3
Sitting and talking to someone_______________________________ 0 1 2 3
Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol______________________0 1 2 3
In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic 0 1 2 3
Total Epworth Score_______
Understanding your score
0-10 Normal range in healthy adults
11-14 Mild sleepiness
15-17 Moderate sleepiness
18 or higher Severe sleepiness
If you scored 11 or higher consider seeing a sleep medicine specialist to diagnose and treat the cause of your sleepiness.