Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Some Questions and Answers about OSA and CPAP

What is sleep apnea?

During sleep, some peoples' breathing briefly stops many times throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapsing and blocking the airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when air cannot flow into or out of the person's nose or mouth through efforts to resume breathing because of confused signals from the brain to the diaphragm.

What causes sleep apnea?

Mechanical and structural problems in the airway interrupt breathing during sleep. The throat muscles and tongue relax too much during sleep, blocking the airway.
Am I at risk for sleep apnea?

This can affect anyone, however, it's more prevalent in men. Loud snoring, weight problems and high blood pressure are risk signs. If you never feel rested, suffer from being overweight, smoke, or notice behavioral changes, such as depression, see an experienced sleep apnea specialist. Snoring is also a sign of sleep apnea, but isn’t the only indicator.

Does obstructive sleep apnea require surgery?

Oral appliance therapy is an alternative to surgery. Therapeutically, they reposition the lower jaw and tongue to reduce apneic occurrences.

If I use a CPAP do I still need surgery?

By correctly adhering to treatment, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, can be very successful. However, studies also show only 23-45% of patients attain success. CPAP is a commitment, those who think they can’t devote themselves to the program should look into oral appliance therapy. Surgery is a last resort.

For many, CPAP is uncomfortable. Less cumbersome methods use simpler mouthpieces that properly align the jaw for safer sleep. These mouthpieces resemble sports mouth guards and helps patients breathe through the nose and mouth. If CPAP is uncomfortable, look into the alternate treatment options.

Why should I seek treatment for sleep apnea?

Quality sleep is essential to wellness. Sleep apnea creates lack of energy, inhibits concentration and slows metabolism. Even worse, lost sleep increases chances for high blood pressure and heart attacks.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, would like to be learned more about it, or know someone who does suffer from it, please visit the website of experienced sleep apnea specialists at www.ihatecpap.com.

posted by Lynn at 8:30 AM