Sleep Apnea FAQ: What You Didn’t Know
Sleep apnea is one of the most common — and most underdiagnosed — sleep disorders plaguing adults. Because it is so misunderstood, it is often ignored, endangering the lives of it’s unsuspecting victims.
If you suspect you or someone you care about is suffering from sleep apnea, it’s important to get the facts to help you understand what you’re up against.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA, the most common type of sleep apnea) is a pattern of abnormal breathing while you’re sleeping. Your throat muscles relax and your airway collapses. This causes you to stop breathing and gasp for air. Essentially, it’s your body strangling you in your sleep. Severe sufferers reportedly stop breathing up to 100 times per hour, depriving their body’s most basic functions of oxygen.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The most common symptoms are loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and prolonged moments in which you stop breathing. Other common side effects include waking up with a dry mouth, grogginess and fatigue, morning headaches, difficulty paying attention, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, and irritability.
Who Can Have or Get Sleep Apnea?
Approximately 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, and 80% of people with moderate and severe OSA have not yet been diagnosed. Adults are much more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Only 2-3% of children have sleep apnea. African Americans are at higher risk, and men are 2-3 times more likely to develop sleep apnea than women. In fact, only about 9% of middle-aged women have been diagnosed with OSA.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
When the muscles in the back of your throat relax, they narrow and close your airways. As you try to inhale in your sleep, this closure blocks the airflow, preventing you from getting air to breathe.
Oftentimes obesity, large neck size, drinking alcohol, and smoking can contribute to the severity of sleep apnea.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
OSA patients are most often prescribed a forced airflow machine called a CPAP. Some may also receive an oral appliance if they have sought treatment from a Sleep Dentist. This device manipulates the jaw to open up the airway.
Patients who visit ADVENT clinics, however, receive treatment plans designed for their specific needs. Many patients undergo an in-office balloon sinuplasty procedure in which a small catheter is inflated in the sinuses to clear and drain the sinuses. They may also have turbinate reduction which is another in-office procedure to open up your airway.
This approach differs from take-home devices because it attacks the problem at its source. At ADVENT, we begin by examining the back of the throat and making sure the nose is working properly. Then we perform procedures that go beyond subduing symptoms and actually identify and treat the root causes.
What is the Compliance Rate for using a CPAP Device?
CPAP compliance measures the number of people who use their CPAP device on a regular basis. The national average is 30%. This is understandable because if your nose doesn't work a CPAP won't work either.
ADVENT's CPAP compliance rate is 78%. This proves that if your nose works properly, your CPAP device will be much more tolerable...and you'll find more success in treating your sleep apnea.
What Are the Side Effects of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea are many — some are loud and apparent, like snoring, while others could be dubbed silent killers. OSA can have side effects such as daytime fatigue, frequent headaches, dry mouth, anxiety and depression. People who suffer from OSA also tend to be more unfocused, more easily distracted, and easily irritated.
These side effects may be plaguing you while you aren’t even associating them with your sleep. How often do you find yourself dozing off in the afternoon, driving somewhere without remembering how you got there, or making mistakes at work?
What Sleep Apnea Does to Your Body?
Sleep apnea puts a lot of strain on your airways and vascular system. Every time OSA causes you to stop breathing in your sleep, it’s depriving you of the oxygen needed to keep your lungs, brain and heart functioning how they are meant to. This is why patients who suffer from OSA are much more likely to develop hypertension, diabetes, liver problems, sexual dysfunction, anxiety and more.
How Do I Treat My Sleep Apnea?
Good sleep is a requirement for good health. If you think you may have sleep apnea, you have many options. But the first step is to get a proper Breathing Triangle evaluation to get a complete understanding of the root of your problem. Schedule your Breathing Triangle evaluation today.
Sleep Well. Live Better.
Get Your Free Guide:
5 Signs You're Headed For A Sleep Divorce
Get instant access to 5 Signs You're Headed For A Sleep Divorce when you subscribe to our newsletter. Get your FREE copy now: