Sleep Apnea 101
Learn more about Sleep Apnea and say goodbye to the hassle and discomfort of a CPAP machine. Start enjoying the benefits of improved sleep today.
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What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is an alternative to a CPAP machine for treating sleep apnea. It improves sleep by keeping the airway open, allowing for easy breathing and avoiding interruption of sleep. It’s a more comfortable and convenient option as it’s customized to fit your mouth. Most insurance covers the cost and it takes 3-5 weeks to make the appliance.
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What Is a CPAP/BiPAP/APAP Machine?
CPAP/BiPAP/APAP are ventilators used to treat sleep apnea. Downsides of using these machines include bulkiness, discomfort due to masks and headgear, and noise from the motor. Oral appliance therapy, or OAT, is an alternative that solves the problems of a ventilator like a CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP machine.
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What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by periodic cessation of breathing. Risk factors for sleep apnea include obesity, nasal congestion, narrower airway, thicker neck circumference, medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart failure), family history, smoking and alcohol consumptio.
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What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 50% of those with obstructive sleep apnea being also obese. There are three types of sleep apnea, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea (caused by airway obstruction), Central Sleep Apnea (caused by brain not sending proper signals to muscles controlling breathing), and Complex Sleep Apnea (a combination of both).
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How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Treatments for sleep apnea include oral appliance therapy (OAT) and ventilators such as CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines. OAT is similar to a retainer that repositions the jaw to prevent airway obstruction. OAT is a better option than CPAP due to its quiet, compact and comfortable design compared to the noisy, bulky and uncomfortable CPAP machine.
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What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that can cause you to stop breathing while sleeping and can negatively impact your health. Common symptoms include snoring loudly, stopping breathing during sleep, waking up gasping or choking, insomnia, dry mouth, waking up with a headache, hypersomnia, trouble paying attention, and irritability.
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What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
There are three forms of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), Central sleep apnea (CSA), and Complex sleep apnea. OSA is the most common form, caused by an obstruction in the airway which can lead to various health problems if left untreated, including fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, liver issues, and more.
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OAT vs. Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation
Hypoglossal nerve stimulation is a treatment for sleep apnea that involves a device inserted into the body that recognizes when breathing is obstructed during sleep. It synchronizes with breathing and when it senses an interruption, it sends an electrical shock through the hypoglossal nerve to force the tongue back into its normal position. By contrast, OAT is a simple oral appliance that just sits in the mouth to prevent the airways from closing in the first place.
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Fibromyalgia and Sleep Apnea
While fibromyalgia and sleep apnea are two distinct health conditions, they do share some similarities when it comes to symptoms. Additionally, fibromyalgia can make it harder to sleep at night and may be mistaken for sleep apnea.
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Alcohol and Sleep Apnea
Drinking alcohol can have a negative impact on sleep even at the best of times. If you have sleep apnea, then alcohol can worsen your symptoms, increase snoring, and overall decrease the number of hours of sleep that you can get.
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OAT vs ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation)
Oral appliance therapy is commonly used as a mild treatment for sleep apnea to improve facial tissue obstruction. It is best used for obstructive sleep apnea, as compared to ASV treatment which is frequently used for central sleep apnea. ASV, or adaptive servo-ventilation, is a machine used during the night to help with a patient’s breathing while they sleep. ASV machines adjust to an individual’s unique breathing patterns and alter the airflow accordingly when they detect changes in breathing.