Sleep apnea is an extremely common yet potentially dangerous sleep disorder, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to receive effective treatment.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects more than 18 million Americans – many of whom do not realize that they may have it.
It’s described as repeated stoppages of breathing during sleep, which can cause the oxygen level in your blood to dip. This puts a strain on your heart over time and can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, as well as morning headaches.
How can it be treated?
Sleep apnea is caused by blocked airways, so treatment focuses on keeping these airways open at night. The most common forms of treatment include the following:
CPAP – A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine delivers a steady stream of air through tubes into a mask you wear over your mouth and nose at night. Although it’s often an effective type of treatment, many people use it sporadically or abandon its use entirely. Due to the fact that the mask can be uncomfortable to wear, and patients often find the forced air difficult to adjust to.
Oral Appliance Therapy – Oral appliance therapy is generally used as an alternative for patients who have trouble adjusting to a CPAP machine. These soft, comfortable plastic devices are worn only at night. They’re similar to mouthguards or oral retainers, and are very effective at treating sleep apnea. Uniquely designed, created and fit for each patient’s mouth – they help keep airways open by gently coaxing the jaw/tongue forward. Many patients find them easier to use, clean and transport when compared to CPAP. Patients who able to easily keep wearing their appliances, find that they are able to sleep better, have more energy throughout the day, and have an improved quality of life.
What else can you do to alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms?
Sleep apnea can put your heart health at risk, and daytime sleepiness and fatigue can make you more likely to have an accident throughout your day. In addition to getting an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, you can also try the following tips:
Sleep On Your Side Try sleeping on your side instead of your back. If you sleep on your back, your airways are more likely to partially close.
Avoid Sedatives Avoid taking sedatives or drinking alcohol, especially close to bedtime. These substances can make your throat tissues loosen more than usual – making your airway more likely to become stuck.
Lose Weight If Possible Excess weight can make the tissues in and around your airway larger and thicker.
Stop Smoking Smoking can make your upper airway – including your throat and uvula – swell over time.
To find the best sleep apnea treatment, make an appointment today with eos dental sleep in Philadelphia. We offer individualized treatment plans for each patient. Our practice specializes in offering alternatives to CPAP, such as oral appliance therapy, and will work with you to find an effective treatment that’s comfortable and easy for you to use.
Sleep apnea is a common, frustrating condition that can develop for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s rarely something you can handle yourself. Sleep apnea has two forms, obstructive and central, and both have short- and long-term affects on your health and quality of life. Luckily a sleep apnea specialist can identify the best treatment for you and help you start getting the rest you need.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
When you have sleep apnea – you stop breathing for short periods of time over the course of the night and when you start to run out of oxygen, you end up waking up a bit. Because these episodes of waking up can happen several times per hour, you end up not getting a lot of sleep.
Common symptoms that you might have after a night of apneic episodes include:
Dry mouth and throat
Moodiness and irritability
Brain fog and an inability to concentrate
The side effects of apnea can extend past the morning. You can have trouble concentrating on work and your long-term performance take a dive. If your bed partner can’t sleep because of your snoring, your relationship can find itself on the rocks. And even if your partner sleeps in another room, your relationship can still suffer because of your moodiness and other behavior.
Your health can also suffer long-term. Your blood pressure, risk for heart disease, and risk for diabetes all go up due to the sleep deprivation that sleep apnea can cause.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to have all of the symptoms to have sleep apnea. For example, in central sleep apnea, your brain does not send the right signals to your muscles to tell you to breathe while asleep, and snoring is often not a factor.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
If you snore, you don’t necessarily have sleep apnea. However, snoring is a major risk factor; even if you didn’t have apnea when you were younger and snoring, you are at greater risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea as you get older. You’re also more at risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea if you gain a lot of weight or are already obese, if you sleep with your head at a strange angle, or if you smoke, drink, or use sedating medication.
One other issue to watch out for is if you have a family history or personal risk factors for stroke or heart trouble. Central sleep apnea can occur even in healthy people for undetermined reasons, but the development of central sleep apnea can also be a sign that something is wrong in terms of a developing stroke or heart disease. If you feel terrible when you wake up and think you might have sleep apnea, but you don’t think there is anything causing an obstruction, contact a sleep apnea specialist immediately.
When to See a Doctor
If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, even just a general sense of not sleeping well, you may need to contact a sleep apnea specialist. You’ll go through an evaluation and sleep test, and the specialist will discuss your options. You may need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, or there could be an alternative treatment that eases the apnea permanently.
Don’t let these symptoms continue to get worse and affect the quality of your life. Contact the specialists at eos dental sleep to find a solution and let you enjoy your sleep time.
If you have sleep apnea, you may have noticed that your symptoms can worsen during winter months. This can have a significant effect on your daily well-being and overall health, even following the winter season. Patients may be more inclined to seek CPAP therapy or another sleep apnea treatment option during the winter to manage their sleep problem that is actually present year-round.
How can the coldness of winter affect your sleep apnea?
Winter weather can worsen your sleep apnea symptoms due to the following:
Weather conditions such as high atmospheric pressure
Increased levels of carbon monoxide
More frequent upper-airway problems, such as colds and congestion
Wood burning to heat homes leading to irritated airways
Allergens spread by forced air heating
Dry air leading to irritated airways
What are the symptoms of this sleep disorder?
The sleep disorder sleep apnea can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
Pauses in breathing witnessed by another person
Loud, chronic snoring
Excessive daytime sleepiness despite spending enough time in bed
Snorting or gasping sounds during sleep
Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Sleep apnea can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The following are the most common ways to treat sleep apnea:
This machine delivers a stream of air through tubing and a mask you wear on your face.
It can be effective, but many people don’t use it every night or abandon its use entirely because it can be uncomfortable.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral devices are often worn by patients who have trouble using a CPAP machine. They’re custom-made to fit each patient and address his or her needs. Your doctor and a lab create a mold that fits the unique shape of your mouth and teeth.
Similar to a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer, oral appliances are worn only at night. Oral appliances are very effective in treating sleep apnea and snoring because they slightly position the tongue or jaw forward to help the airway stay open. Patients usually find it comfortable and easy to use, transport, and clean.
If you snore or have other symptoms of sleep apnea, make an appointment today with eos dental sleep. Dr. Levin can help you find the best possible treatment, and if you’ve already been diagnosed with this sleep disorder and are looking for a CPAP alternative, we can provide you with a custom-made oral appliance.
Loud snoring is often the topic of jokes as well as an annoyance for the snorer’s sleep partner. But if the snoring continues and you feel extremely sleepy during the day, it may be time to see a sleep apnea specialist to get the help you need.
Sleep apnea is a very common yet serious sleep disorder that’s characterized by repeated pauses in breathing while you sleep. You may not be aware of these stoppages since they probably don’t wake you up completely. As a result, many cases of sleep apnea are undiagnosed and untreated.
It can have serious effects on your health and well-being since your sleep consistently moves from a deeper stage into a lighter, less restful one. Your blood is also deprived of its normal amount of oxygen. Many troubling symptoms, as well as an increased risk of other chronic health issues, are associated with this sleep disorder.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Since many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with its symptoms so you can ask your doctor about them and get the treatment you need:
Chronic daytime sleepiness, even if you spend enough time in bed
Loud chronic snoring, especially when you sleep on your back
Pauses in breath noticed by another person
Gasping or choking sounds as your breathing resumes
If you’re experiencing the previous symptoms, you should make an appointment to see a sleep apnea specialist. He or she may recommend a sleep study, which is the only way to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of sleep apnea.
What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?
The following are some of the most common treatment options:
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine – Often the first type of treatment tried, this machine delivers a low, steady stream of air through tubes and a mask you wear on your face. This helps keep your airway open as you sleep.
Oral appliances – Especially for patients who can’t tolerate a CPAP machine, an oral appliance can be an excellent alternative. It’s a comfortable custom-made device similar to a mouth guard, and it’s only worn at night. This appliance gently coaxes your jaw and/or tongue gently forward to help keep your airway open.
Lifestyle changes – Sleeping on your side, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, losing weight if you need to, and quitting smoking may help make your symptoms less severe.
Surgery – Sometimes a structural problem such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum is the underlying cause of sleep apnea. When that’s the case, you may need surgery.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms that may be associated with sleep apnea, make an appointment today for an evaluation with sleep apnea specialist Dr. Levin at eos dental sleep in Philadelphia, PA. We’ll gather the information needed to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the most effective, least invasive treatment possible.
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can cause risks far beyond sleep problems. It can even have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system and make your chances of having high blood pressure more likely.
In this blog, Dr. Marc Levin of eos dental sleep explains more about sleep apnea risks and the relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure.
What is sleep apnea?
This sleep disorder is characterized by pauses in your breathing as you sleep. This can occur hundreds of time a night, causing a lower level of oxygen in your blood. It can have an impact on many aspects of your health, leaving you feeling exhausted during the day and causing headaches as well as many other symptoms.
In addition, this disorder is linked to many serious sleep apnea risks, including high blood pressure.
What is the link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure?
Each time your breathing pauses while you sleep, your blood pressure drops and your heart rate slows down. When you start breathing again, your heart rate increases rapidly, and with repeated stops and starts, your blood pressure rises. This elevation in blood pressure can also carry over to your waking hours.
Sleep apnea is also much more common in patients who have resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that hasn’t been adequately controlled despite trying a variety of treatments.
What should you do if you have sleep apnea and high blood pressure?
Seeking treatment for sleep apnea can help the quality of your sleep as well as your blood pressure. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a device that delivers a low, steady stream of air that helps keep your airway open, is the most common way to treat sleep apnea. It also helps treat resistant hypertension in patients who have sleep apnea.
The same is true of oral appliances, which are custom-made mouth guard-like devices worn while you sleep. Patients who find CPAP to be too uncomfortable often wear them, and these devices can also help improve sleep apnea and reduce high blood pressure related to this sleep disorder.
If you have high blood pressure or sleep apnea, make an appointment today with Dr. Levin at eos dental sleep. We can help you get the sleep apnea treatment you need to sleep well and improve your overall health and sleep apnea risks, including a reduction in high blood pressure.
If you have sleep apnea, chances are pretty good that you’ve tried using a CPAP machine. While some patients can successfully use this treatment, others abandon it because it can be cumbersome and uncomfortable. For patients who can’t tolerate CPAP, dental appliances for sleep apnea can often be an effective, more comfortable alternative.
A dental appliance for sleep apnea is a mouth guard-like device that’s worn only when you sleep. It’s custom-made and fit by your doctor by using a plastic-like mold that forms to the unique shape of your mouth and teeth.
What is it used for?
This type of dental appliance is used to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Since sleep apnea is caused by an obstructed airway, a dental appliance is effective because it helps keep your airway open.
The following are the main types of dental appliances for sleep apnea:
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) – advances the tongue and soft tissue of the throat while coaxing the lower jaw gently forward to open up the airway
Tongue Retaining Device – uses suction to keep the tongue from collapsing backward during sleep and obstructing the airway
These devices are often used when a patient can’t tolerate a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. CPAP delivers a steady stream of air through a mask that’s worn over your nose and mouth, and many patients have trouble wearing it comfortably. While it can be very effective, it needs to be used every night, and some patients stop using it completely due to discomfort.
What are the benefits?
The following are some common benefits of dental appliances:
Non-invasive – It requires no surgery or invasive procedure.
Better compliance – Many people who can’t tolerate a CPAP machine are able to use a dental appliance.
Effective – They’re effective in reducing symptoms associated with snoring and sleep apnea.
Very portable – Unlike the machine, tubes, and mask associated with CPAP, oral appliances for sleep apnea are small enough to fit into your pocket.
Easy to clean – There’s no tubing to worry about cleaning.
Quiet – Some CPAP machines can be noisy, but this isn’t an issue with oral appliances.
Comfortable – Most patients find oral appliances to be quite comfortable and easy to wear.
Less noticeable – Your bed partner won’t be able to see your appliance unless you have your mouth open.
Where can you find a dental appliance for sleep apnea?
At eos dental sleep, the top priority is helping patients get the restorative sleep they need. Dr. Levin and his staff don’t take a “one size fits all” approach to sleep apnea treatment since they realize that not everyone can use CPAP. They specialize in personalized care and in creating the type of dental appliance that suits your needs while being comfortable and easy to wear.
If you’re snoring or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, make an appointment today with eos dental sleep In Philadelphia, PA. We’re committed to helping you improve your sleep and quality of life.
If you snore, it can be an indication that you have obstructive sleep apnea, which blocks your airways as you sleep and causes dangerous pauses in breathing. Many people who snore find that oral appliance therapy provides the quiet, restful sleep they need and alleviates symptoms associated with sleep apnea, such as daytime drowsiness and headaches.
Snoring occurs when the muscles in the roof of your mouth, tongue, and throat relax. Your tongue falls backward, and as the tissues in your throat relax, they partially obstruct your airway and vibrate, which causes the sound you make when you snore. The narrower your airway, the more your airflow becomes forced, which causes the tissues to vibrate more and make your snoring louder.
This obstruction of airflow can occur because of factors that include the following:
Bulky throat tissue – This is more likely to happen if you’re overweight or have large adenoids and/or tonsils.
Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue – Muscles can relax too much and block your airway. This often happens as a result of the normal aging process but can also be worsened by the use of alcohol or sleeping pills.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for people who snore and have mild to moderate sleep apnea, as well as those with severe sleep apnea who can’t tolerate the use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. Although these machines are often the first type of treatment recommended, many people find them to be so uncomfortable that they use them only intermittently or stop using them completely.
What is an oral appliance?
This custom-made device is similar to an orthodontic retainer or a mouth guard worn during sports.
Your doctor will take physical or digital impressions and models of your teeth and mouth and send these to a lab for your custom-made appliance to be created. It will be fitted in-office, and your device will be tested and adjusted over time to make sure it’s comfortable and effective.
How do oral appliances work to treat snoring?
The appliance is worn only at night to gently coax your tongue, jaw, and/or soft tissues of the throat forward to help keep your airway open. Your doctor can recommend a specific type of oral appliance to correct the issue that’s causing your blocked airway and snoring.
Many people find an oral appliance easy to wear, comfortable, and effective. It often enables patients who can’t tolerate using a CPAP machine to get the effective treatment they need.
Snoring isn’t good for a relationship. If you snore, you probably wonder what you can do about your partner’s complaints and feel guilty about keeping him or her awake. You may also feel helpless since you don’t have control over your snoring
On the other hand, your partner probably has built up some resentment since you’re interfering with his or her ability to get a good night’s rest.
Poor quality of sleep
With both partners failing to get a good, restorative night’s sleep, tempers may be short. A lack of sleep has been associated with irritability and a lack of empathy. It’s even been found to make couples appreciate each other less and feel more selfish. This isn’t exactly helpful when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Lack of intimacy
The partners of chronic snorers are likely to move to another room to sleep in an effort to finally get some rest. Not only can this put a damper on sexual intimacy, but also on the conversation and cuddling that couples can share at night. For many couples, it’s finally a quiet time of day where they can focus on each other for a few minutes, but that’s impossible to do when you’re in separate rooms.
How to get help
If you snore, a visit to a sleep specialist can help you get to the root of the problem. You may have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, which is often associated with snoring. This disorder is characterized by repeated pauses in your breathing throughout the night. It can have a significant impact on the quality of rest you get as well as your overall health.
A sleep specialist can order a sleep study, which measures and records information about what happens to your body when you sleep, including your oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, movement, brain activity, and more. This will either confirm or rule out a diagnosis of sleep apnea and allow you to start receiving the treatment you need.
What snoring treatment is available?
Several types of snoring treatment are available. In most cases, a non-invasive form of snoring treatment will be tried first. These include:
CPAP machine – A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine delivers a steady flow of air via hoses and a mask worn on your face. It helps keep your airway open at night to alleviate snoring as well as the symptoms of sleep apnea. Although it can be very effective, many people stop using it because they find it to be too uncomfortable.
Oral appliances – These custom-made mouthpieces are worn at night and gently coax the jaw and/or tongue forward so they aren’t blocking your airway. They’re often an effective way to treat patients who find CPAP too uncomfortable to use.
If you snore, make an appointment today with eos dental sleep. Dr. Levin will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you, order a sleep study if needed, and correctly diagnose the cause of your snoring. An effective treatment plan will be devised so you – and your partner – can get the sleep you both deserve!
This sleep disorder occurs because your breathing passages become temporarily blocked as you sleep. This often happens because the soft tissues of your mouth and palate fall back as you sleep, blocking your airways.
When this happens, you start and stop breathing many times throughout the night, and your body moves from a deep stage of sleep into a light one. Although you’re spending enough time in bed, you’re not getting the restorative sleep you need in order to feel your best.
This sleep disorder can cause a long list of symptoms – including excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, and morning headaches – as well as increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Does being overweight cause sleep apnea?
Not everyone who’s overweight will develop this disorder, but the vast majority of people who have it are overweight.
Extra pounds can create extra soft tissue in the neck, which can cause your airway to become narrowed. In addition, if you have a neck size greater than 17.5 inches, you have a greater chance of developing sleep apnea.
Does sleep apnea make it harder to lose weight?
Not only are you more likely to have this disorder if you’re overweight, but you may also have trouble dropping pounds or may gain weight if you have it.
A lack of deep, restorative sleep can affect two hormones that help control your appetite. Ghrelin, which tells you when to eat, increases when you have sleep apnea. And leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full and you should stop eating, decreases when you have this sleep disorder.
Your metabolism also slows down if you suffer from this sleep disorder. As a result, your body is less efficient at converting food into energy, which can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Finally, if you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to overeat. Not only will you consume more calories, you’ll be more likely to reach for unhealthy “comfort” foods, which will make it even harder to lose excess weight.
How can you break the cycle?
Treatment can help improve your symptoms, as well as the quality of your sleep. In turn, you may find it easier to lose weight, which will better help control your symptoms.
Common types of treatment include the following:
CPAP machine– This device delivers a continuous flow of air through a hose to a mask worn over your nose and/or mouth. This will help keep your airway open at night.
Oral appliances – These custom-made devices are similar to an orthodontic retainer and are worn only at night. They help keep your airway open by gently repositioning the tongue or the tongue and lower jaw.
If these types of treatments aren’t effective enough, a variety of minimally invasive procedures and surgeries are available to help alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms.
Contact eos dental sleep today to make an appointment for an evaluation. We’ll help you get the most effective, least invasive treatment that will let you sleep better and may make it easier for you to lose weight.
About 45% of American adults snore at least occasionally, and although it may be the source of jokes for those who hear it, the sound may be nothing to laugh about. In some cases, snoring can be a sign that you have a much more serious medical condition.
What are the telltale signs that snoring is something serious?
If you have a chronic snoring problem, it may indicate the presence of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder. Although not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, nearly everyone who has sleep apnea does snore.
Sleep apnea deprives your brain and the rest of your body of oxygen as you repeatedly stop breathing during sleep due to an airway obstruction. This can have serious consequences for your health and can even increase your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or an irregular heart rhythm.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it could be an indication that you have sleep apnea and require treatment:
Excessive daytime sleepiness, which may include falling asleep while driving or at work
Breathing pauses during sleep
Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
Awakening abruptly and feeling short of breath
Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
Difficulty remembering or concentrating
Difficulty losing weight
What types of snoring treatment are available?
There are a number of different snoring treatment options available, but two of the most common treatments include:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – A CPAP device sends a steady stream of air through a hose attached to a mask that’s worn over your nose or your nose and mouth. The airflow helps keep your airway open and ensures you’re getting a proper supply of oxygen as you sleep.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) – An oral appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that’s worn only at night and is a good alternative for many patients who are unable to tolerate CPAP. It’s similar to an orthodontic retainer or a mouthpiece that’s worn during sports, and the device is usually easy to get used to wearing. OAT works by preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. This helps keep your airway open during sleep. An oral appliance can be used in conjunction with CPAP or used on its own for patients who have trouble using CPAP.
If you’re experiencing chronic snoring or other symptoms that may be indicative of sleep apnea, it’s important to be evaluated. Make an appointment today at eos dental sleep in Philadelphia by calling (215) 241-0700.