Sleep Apnea Treatment in Scottsdale, AZ
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans each year and can cause significant, serious health concerns. This very serious condition causes nighttime breathing issues and interrupts sleep. Dr. Ann Sielicki can provide effective, non-invasive sleep apnea treatment for patients at their Sonoran Dental Design office in Scottsdale, AZ.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is an involuntary interruption in your breathing that occurs as you sleep. Breathing can be interrupted up to hundreds of times in one night. With each interruption, your brain wakes you enough to signal you to breathe again, which can result in poor quality or fragmented sleep.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse, blocking the flow of air.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to trigger the muscles that control breathing.
Mixed or Complex Sleep Apnea
Mixed or complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. The brain fails to communicate with the muscles that control breathing, and the body tries to breathe but cannot (due to a blocked airway).
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Extremely loud snoring
- Waking with a gasp or choke
- Dry mouth or headache
- Irritability and other mood changes
Many people do not realize they have sleep apnea, and the condition continues and can worsen when undiagnosed. When untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, problems with memory, weight gain, impotence, headache, and even death. If you are suffering from poor sleep quality and suspect sleep apnea is the cause, it is important to get a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Sleep apnea treatment is able to provide significant and far-reaching benefits that can improve your overall quality of life.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Certain people are more prone to sleep apnea because of the following factors:
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Being male (men are twice as likely to get sleep apnea)
- A naturally narrow throat or thicker neck
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Frequent consumption of alcohol
- Use of sedatives
- Advancing age
- History of heart disorders (for central sleep apnea)
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Many patients do not know that they can seek help for sleep apnea as part of a general dentistry procedure. During a regular dental exam, Dr. Sielicki can look at your throat and measure your soft palate and uvula. Patients with an elongated soft palate or enlarged uvula are more likely to have OSA. If either Dr. Sielicki thinks you may be at risk for sleep apnea, they will ask you about your sleep habits and whether or not you snore. They may recommend a sleep study to confirm that you have OSA.
Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea are advised to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine uses air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep. A mask is worn over the nose and mouth at night. However, CPAP machines are bulky, uncomfortable and difficult to transport. Many people have trouble tolerating CPAP machines and do not use them regularly as intended.
Dr. Sielicki offers a less invasive alternative to a CPAP machine: an oral appliance. The appliance is lightweight, comfortable and much easier to tolerate than a CPAP machine. You will wear the device while you sleep. The purpose of the oral appliance is to set your lower jaw in a forward position to keep your airway open and prevent your tongue and other tissues from collapsing and blocking the airway.
The Life-changing Benefits
Treatment for sleep apnea can restore your ability to get a full night’s sleep, and allow you to wake feeling refreshed and energetic. In addition to improved sleep, treatment is able to provide significant and far-reaching benefits that can improve your quality of life. Treating OSA can prevent other serious concerns that have been linked to sleep apnea, including insomnia, falling asleep while driving, depression, diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
How does sleep apnea differ from snoring?
Snoring occurs when air has difficulty passing through the airway during sleep; the air causes vibrations in the soft tissues of the throat that produce a snoring sound.
Sleep apnea occurs when air cannot pass through the airway and breathing temporarily stops. A person with sleep apnea can stop breathing for up to 10 seconds at a time, and these cessations in breath can occur hundreds of times in a single night.
What if I think I or my partner has sleep apnea?
If you suspect you or your partner has sleep apnea, you should see a sleep specialist for a full evaluation. The sleep specialist will also recommend undergoing a sleep study to confirm or rule out sleep apnea.
What are the consequences of untreated sleep apnea?
Untreated sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime drowsiness and affect cognitive functions like concentration and memory. It can also significantly increase the risk of serious, life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Is it safe to travel with sleep apnea?
It is safe to travel with sleep apnea as long as you bring your oral appliance with you. The appliance is slim, lightweight and portable, so it can be easily packed.
Can you die from sleep apnea?
You cannot die directly of sleep apnea. When your body senses it is not getting enough oxygen, it forces you to partially wake up, so you will not suffocate in your sleep. However, if your sleep apnea is left untreated, it can significantly increase your risk of a life-threatening medical condition such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Studies indicate that severe or untreated sleep apnea can reduce a person’s life expectancy.
Can kids get sleep apnea?
Yes, it is possible for children to experience sleep apnea. The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 1 to 4 percent of children have sleep apnea.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, it is important to get a diagnosis and begin treatment. Schedule a consultation today by contacting our Scottsdale, AZ office at (480) 419-9595 so we can help you sleep better and live longer.