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Woodstock General and Implant Dentistry on May 22, 2017

    Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder characterized by shallow or interrupted breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from seconds to minutes and can occur multiple times during the night — sometimes as often as 30 times an hour. Normal breathing often starts up again with a loud snort or choking sound. This interruption moves a patient from deep to light sleep. Sleep apnea testing can determine not only whether you have this condition, but also which type you have and how best to treat it.

    Sleep Apnea Symptoms Include:

    • Snoring
    • Excessive Fatigue
    • Dry Mouth & Throat
    • Headaches
    • Nightmares
    • Mood Swings
    • Inability to Focus
    • Poor Memory
    • Weight Gain
    • Depression

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    Types of Sleep Apnea

    There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central. Although the symptoms of each condition are similar, the causes and treatments differ.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea can develop as the muscles of the throat, the tongue or other soft tissues relax and block airways during the night. The force of the air trying to get through causes exceptionally loud snoring. This is what most people refer to as sleep apnea, and can often be effectively treated by our team. Of the two kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the more common condition.

    Central Sleep Apnea occurs when signals from the brain fail to reach the muscles responsible for maintaining your nighttime breathing. This condition is less common and requires advanced treatment from specialists and neurologists. This condition is often tied to other medical conditions or medicines, although it may occur in conjunction with obstructive sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is not associated with loud snoring.

    It is vital that you undergo accurate testing to determine the form of sleep apnea that you may be suffering from. Inaccurate diagnoses can lead to improper treatment and an increase in your symptoms. Central sleep apnea is far more complex than obstructive sleep apnea, and requires the attention of a specialist.

    Sleep Apnea Testing

      Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that requires effective treatment to avoid serious complications. If you believe you are suffering from sleep apnea, you should not hesitate to receive an accurate diagnosis.

      To determine your type of sleep apnea and choose the best option for your needs, you will need to undergo sleep apnea testing with the help of our Hudson Valley, New York team. We offer top-of-the-line sleep apnea treatment at a state-of-the-art facility to provide patients with a better quality of life through exceptional dental care.

      If you are experiencing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, contact our practice today to schedule an appointment and discuss your treatment options.

      The Testing Process

      Dr. Claudia Patch and Dr. Bethany Wong have undergone advanced training with Sleep Group Solutions to provide personalized treatment that helps patients manage sleep apnea and improve their quality of life. Together with certified physicians, our team can help you determine the cause of your sleep issues and how best to treat them.

      The testing process is simple and can be completed in a matter of days. You’ll begin by filling out a questionnaire that will help us begin to diagnose your condition. Based on the answers you provide, we can identify certain risk factors you may be facing and possible complications you may encounter during treatment.

      We will then provide you with a take-home test. Your sleep breathing patterns may be measured using advanced acoustic reflection technology known as pharyngometry, which determines the air volume of your airways.

      You may also be asked to complete a sleep study with the take-home Apnea Risk Evaluation System or ARES™. This system is specially designed for comfort and the ability to be worn in all sleep positions. The device can store three nights of data that measure your blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, airflow, snoring levels, and head position and movement. A certified physician will examine these readings to properly diagnose your sleep condition.

      Long-Term Effects

      Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) often goes undiagnosed. While the most obvious sign is snoring, most patients are unaware they do so until a family member or bed partner points it out. The condition can be serious as sleep apnea limits and disrupts the amount of oxygen your lungs can take in while you sleep.

      Because a lack of oxygen also affects cognitive ability, patients suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have driving or work-related accidents.

      In the long-term, a decreased intake of oxygen can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, and diabetes.

      Left untreated, this condition can take up to 12-15 years off your life. It increases the risk of heart attack and nearly 80% of nocturnal strokes can be attributed to OSA.

      Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

      Unfortunately, there is no cure for sleep apnea. It is a lifelong condition that requires long-term care. However, several treatments are available to alleviate its effects:

      • Oral Devices: These retainer-like devices are worn at night to prevent airway obstructions. Depending on the cause of the issue, they can keep the tongue or any potential physical obstructions in place, as well as shift the jaw forward to open the airway further. Dr. Patch and Dr. Wong can perform maintenance on these devices to ensure they perform properly and remain a good fit.
        Learn More about our Oral Devices
      • Breathing Devices: In some cases, Dr. Patch and Dr. Wong may recommend a device that maintains airflow throughout the night. Called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, the device uses mild air pressure to keep airways open.
      • Lifestyle Changes: Because obstructive sleep apnea is closely tied to obesity, regular exercise and weight loss can make a big difference in alleviating the effects of the condition.