Sleep apnea is a condition where you hold your breath for extended periods of time while sleeping.
The disorder is associated with daytime sleepiness, increased accidents, hypertension, heart disease, heart attack, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. An estimated 850,000 adults suffer from sleep apnea, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Has your sleeping partner noticed pauses in your breathing during the night? Do you snore, gasp, or choke during the night?
Sleep apnea that is obstructive in nature occurs when the soft tissues of your throat relax and fall into your airway, impeding normal breathing. It causes poor quality sleep, leaving you feeling tired during the day, struggling to concentrate, and causing memory problems. You may experience morning headaches. If you are a man, you may have problems with impotence.
Sleep apnea that is central in nature involves the brain stem. This is where the signals for nighttime breathing are generated. It is possible that misalignment of your cervical vertebrae can be pinching or putting pressure on the brainstem resulting in problems with the signals. It is also interesting to note that a misaligned jaw can lead to misaligned cervical vertebrae.
Losing weight, avoiding alcohol (especially after dinner) and eliminating sedative medications are often recommended as a first step in treating problems of sleep apnea. A change in sleep position can help with some mild cases of sleep apnea.
A continuous positive airway pressure machine, often called CPAP, is a device that provides regulated airway pressure throughout the night to prevent sleep apnea. The air is delivered through a nose or mouth device that is connected to a machine that sits on the nightstand. Many people find relief with CPAP equipment. However, other people find the mechanism uncomfortable and prefer other techniques of dealing with their problem. Compliance can be a major issue with CPAP.
Dental devices may be the answer for sleep apnea patients who are reluctant or unsatisfied by CPAP machines. These appliances can help your mild, moderate, and even some severe sleep apnea conditions by holding your tongue and jaw forward so they don’t relax back and block your airway. These appliances are adjustable and should be retested to help achieve maximum therapeutic results.
Kelowna residents who need sleep apnea treatment are in luck. Dental Solution’s Dr. Mark Provencher is experienced in sleep apnea and is trained to fit you with the dental appliance that will resolve your nighttime breathing problems.