The Greek word “apnea” means “without breath”. There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. Of the three types, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common.
People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. Some patients can have up to hundreds of events every night, some that can last for more than a minute!
Sleep apnea is very common. It affects more than twelve million Americans according to the National Institutes of Health. (1) Nearly 90% of those with obstructive disorders are not diagnosed. While there are several “red flags” for OSA, it can strike anyone at any age, even children.
Some of these red flags are listed below:
1. Sleeping on your back
2. Difficulty with nasal breathing
4. Enlarged soft tissues in the throat area
5. A small lower jaw
6. Certain medications
7. Alcohol consumption
8. Cigarette smoke
If left untreated, OSA can affect your health in many ways. Recent studies have shown that OSA is linked with heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, GERD, diabetes, headaches, memory problems, and daytime sleepiness associated with work and car accidents.
Many people do not seek medical help because they believe that no effective treatment for sleep apnea exists. In fact, there are many options. The diagnosis of OSA must come from a certified physician of which we can refer. If diagnosed, the most common prescription is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This is a very effective way to combat apnea. However, many patients find this inconvenient or intolerable. In many of those cases, we can provide you with a removable oral appliance that can be very effective! The Academy of Sleep Medicine’s policy states that the oral appliance can be the first line of treatment in certain cases if the patient prefers to or cannot use the CPAP. Additionally, Dr. Pyle now offers a variety of effective treatments to improve airway health and breathing.
If you are interested, please call us for consultation today at (765) 282-3839.