Risk Factors of OSA
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the blockage of air to the lungs, is considered a health risk because lack of air flow into the lungs means lack of oxygen to the heart, brain, organs and the body in general. This results in several health problems, such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
- Decreased quality of life
- Increased risk of automobile accidents (falling asleep while driving)
- Bruxisum (grinding of teeth resulting in wear)
Patients who suspect that they may suffer from sleep apnea are welcome to discuss their questions with either Dr. Craig Reading or Dr. Randy Bird, who are familiar with the oral indications of OSA. If symptoms are significant they will refer their patients to a board certified sleep center for a sleep study and complete diagnosis of OSA. Sleep Apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician.
Dr. Reading is trained to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring using a specialized oral appliance which is used to reposition the lower jaw, preventing the soft tissue blockage that causes symptoms. The appliance holds the lower jaw slightly forward and open during sleep, preventing the tongue and soft tissues from relaxing back into the throat and creating the obstruction. Patients who have tried to use a C-PAP machine and found compliance difficult often find relief and improvement with oral appliance therapy. In many cases of mild to moderate OSA, oral appliances are recommended as a first line treatment because they are non-invasive, easy to tolerate and extremely effective against snoring.
Once diagnosed, OSA can be treated by several ways. Severe sleep apnea is often treated surgically. For mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring, treatment may include positive airway pressure (C-PAP), oral appliance therapy and lifestyle changes including weight loss, smoking cessation, discontinuing the use of alcohol, medication changes and a diet and exercise program.
Affects Children Also
Sleep apnea also affects children. Usually this is due to the child having large tonsils that obstruct the airway; just like in adults, often snoring is a sign of an obstructed airway. Some of the problems common in children that have been linked to sleep apnea include:
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Mood disorders
- Bed wetting
- Problems learning
- Growth problems
To take an Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) self-test, click here.