Do you or your spouse snore? Do you hate wearing that CPAP mask every night?
70% of the time snoring is indicative of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. While approximately 40 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, less than 10% have been diagnosed. Of those 10%, only 25% have been treated for this life-threatening disorder.
OSA is, literally, a life-threatening disorder, and is one of the most common sleep disorders where breathing during sleep is impaired or completely stopped due to obstruction of the airway by the tongue, soft palate, tonsils, etc. This results in lower oxygen levels in the blood, as well as frequent sleep arousals, leaving your brain starved of oxygen and quality sleep, two things absolutely necessary to life and health. We need restful sleep to think clearly, react quickly, create memories, and repair our bodies. In fact, untreated OSA can actually take 12-15 years off of your life! This is in contrast to smoking, which takes off 7-10 years and Type II Diabetes, which takes 5-10 yrs.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Although some may not know they snore or suffer from sleep apnea, most patients are aware of common symptoms of sleep apnea and may be concerned about their ability to function at work or struggle with daily activities. Sleep apnea can have a range of signs and symptoms as well as certain risk factors that can include:
- Snoring or gasping for air during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Feeling groggy or sleepy during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained irritability, moodiness
- Dry mouth in the morning
Common risk factors:
- Being male
- Overweight, obese
- Having hypertension
- Large neck circumference
Dr. O’Malley is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and looks for common oral signs during your dental visit. He will work with you to coordinate a sleep study with a local specialist and also offers a convenient take home sleep test.
Treating Sleep Apnea: CPAP Alternatives
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a machine that prevents airway blockage with a flow of humidified air through a face-mask. For many, the CPAP is cumbersome, uncomfortable and inconvenient. Dr. O’Malley offers oral appliance therapy for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea who are CPAP intolerant or are seeking a more comfortable treatment option.
Dr. O’Malley uses specialized equipment and technology (Pharyngometer/Rhinometer) and our Oral Appliances are custom made and adjusted to provide optimal treatment results.
Oral appliances are easy to use and portable to maintain treatment while traveling. Dr. O’Malley will follow up with patients to ensure a proper fit after several weeks of wear and make any necessary adjustments. When worn as directed, an oral appliance can relieve sleep apnea symptoms and minimize associated health risks.
The true medical side effects of untreated OSA are vast and just starting to be recognized. Side effects range from snoring and headaches to diabetes and stroke, sleep apnea is a killer! In a 2005 study, Marin et al found that severe untreated OSA was associated with a 287% increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity defined by fatal myocardial infarction or stroke. The authors also concluded that untreated severe OSA increased the risk of cardiovascular morbidity by 317%.
Treatment saves lives! A study of 875 diagnosed OSA patients showed that those who wore their CPAP at least 6 hours per night had a significantly higher survival rate at 5 years (96%) compared with those who did not wear their CPAP (85%).
Schedule A Sleep Apnea Consult in Simpsonville
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, it is important to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with Dr. O’Malley and learn more about the signs of sleep apnea and our treatment options, contact us at 864-920-3771.