I Might Have Sleep Apnea...Now What?
Last month, we shed some light on the differences between simple snorers and those that may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Several signs can tell you if something more serious is behind your snoring, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, loud and frequent snoring, and chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity. The good news is we have screening and treatment tools to help you on your way to a better night’s sleep!
Traditional diagnosis of sleep apnea involves a visit to a sleep lab in which a physician monitors many different readings such as heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen saturation, and brain waves. While it remains a very effective method to diagnose sleep apnea, it is expensive and often leaves patients feeling uncomfortable sleeping outside their home with someone watching them. Not many would consider this a place for a good night's sleep. Thankfully new technology is now available to allow us to offer Home Sleep Studies in which many of these same readings are measured in a less intrusive manner in the comfort of your own home, plus it is effective in diagnosing sleep apnea. As a less expensive option, many patients prefer this method as they search for answers behind their snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Home Sleep Studies are an excellent method for patients looking for an easy way to understand their snoring and sleep apnea, but what are your options if you are in fact diagnosed with sleep apnea? Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) remains the most effective method in sleep apnea management. However, the benefits of CPAP disappear if patients are unable to use it. Many find CPAP uncomfortable, difficult to travel with, cause dry mouth and nose, or unable to form a firm seal with the mask. CPAP is only effective when it works perfectly on a nightly basis, and unfortunately many patients find this difficult to accomplish. Surgery is also an option, but only as a last resort after all treatment options have been unsuccessful. Plus there are significant expenses involved whenever a surgeon is involved.
Another option remains, and it is quickly becoming a popular treatment choice for patients and sleep physicians due to its proven success and compliance rates. Oral Appliance Therapy is a mouthpiece that holds your lower jaw forward through the night, preventing your soft tissues from collapsing and blocking your airway. They are custom-made to perfectly fit your mouth, less intrusive for you and your partner, comfortable, and much easier for you to wear every night. There are also many different types of appliances that offer a variety of benefits, but they all are designed to do one thing: reduce or eliminate your sleep apnea.
Dr. Guido has dedicated countless hours to studying the benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy and how to provide the best treatment for our sleep patients. Through coordination with your family physician, we are able to customize your treatment to best benefit you and your health. After all, we are here to help you improve your overall health and total well-being! For more information and to begin your journey towards restful sleep and more energy, call us at 765-448-4242 to schedule your first consultation!