Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Snoring and Sleep Breathing Problems

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where breathing temporarily pauses because of tissue blockage in the upper airways. These breathing pauses interrupt your sleep, leading to many awakenings each hour. Sleep apnea is a serious and life threatening sleep disorder. It is important to see a doctor right away!

Sleep Apnea Warning: Sleep Apnea and heart disease are highly correlated. There are greater risks from high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke as the severity of OSA increases.

Sleep apnea can cause hyperactivity, poor school performance, and hostile behavior in children. Children who suffer from sleep apnea may breathe through the mouth during the day.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

Normal and Obstructed Sleep Apnea blocked Airways

The Four Types of Sleep Apnea are:

Factors that Influence Sleep Apnea

Obese people, because they carry more muscle and tissue mass, are at a greater risk for OSA. Over 50 percent of those who suffer from Down's syndrome also suffer from OSA. Nasal congestion and alcohol consumption also contribute to OSA. The most common causes of obstructive sleep apnea in children are enlarged tonsils and adenoids. During the aging process, neurological signals that maintain throat muscles rigidity decrease and cause OSA for a number of people.

Central sleep apnea is rarely found in healthy people and usually accompanies a medical condition such as Parkinson's disease, advanced arthritis, and encephalitis.

The Importance of Sleep Apnea Treatment

OSA increases the risk of congestive heart failure and stroke. OSA has a number of complications and signs. These include a higher risk of accidents,  high blood pressure,  inattentiveness at work or school,  mood swings, general fatigue and erectile dysfunction. Children suffering from OSA can be hyperactive, moody, high strung, aggressive, and prone to bed wetting. Unusual sleeping positions can be a sign of OSA. Overall, people suffering from sleep apnea experience deterioration in their quality of life.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

When a patient is suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and/or epilepsy, Dr. Clausen can recommend a diagnostic testing facility. In evaluating adults, the physical examination includes assessing upper body obesity, measuring for a wide neck, and looking for enlarged tonsils. Pediatric OSA examinations include checking the child for attention deficit disorder (ADD) issues and looking for enlarged adenoids and tonsils.

A patient's medical and sleep history are important in diagnosing sleep apnea. Drowsiness, headaches, heartburn, and medications can influence an OSA diagnosis. A sleep study may be required and is performed in a sleep lab. The results can help determine if an individual has sleep apnea or identify other potential sleep disorders.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Dr. Clausen will review surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Non-surgical treatments include behavioral changes, medications, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, and/or oral appliances. Oral appliances are highly effective corrective devices for stopping snoring and OSA.

Call Gentle Family Dentistry today to make your appointment!

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