Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders Provides Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
We Have Solutions for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We Are Committed to Providing the Top Treatments for OSA. Please Call for More Information.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
First, let’s look at how we breathe. Typically, when you breathe in, air flows through your nose and mouth, down your throat and into your lungs. The reverse effect occurs when breathing out. Air flows from your lungs, through your throat, and out through your nose and mouth. When you sleep, your breathing slows down and the soft tissues in your throat relax. For someone with an Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosis, these tissues block the upper airway repeatedly enough to disrupt normal sleep related breathing. In some instances, your tongue will fall back far enough to block the airflow. When airflow into the lungs is interrupted during sleep, your sleep can become extremely fragmented. The oxygen levels in your blood begin to drop, causing you to wake up long enough to regain normal breathing and regular oxygen levels. These awakenings are often only a few seconds, which is why the affected individual is often not aware they are repeatedly waking up during the night.
What Are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are several symptoms that are associated with OSA. Disturbed sleep in conjunction with oxygen starvation results in:
- Loud persistent snoring
- Insomnia / Inability to sleep
- Witnessed pauses in breathing
- Choking / gasping for air during sleep
- Restless Sleep
- Frequent visits to the bathroom
- Mouth breathing / difficult nose breathing
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Early morning headaches
- Poor concentration
- Depression / Irritability / Mood Swings
- Weight Gain / High Blood Pressure / Diabetes
- Depression / Anxiety / ADD & ADHD
- Poor job performance
- Impotence / decreased sex drive
- Short term memory problems
Although snoring is strongly connected with OSA, and one of the most common reasons a patient seeks treatment, it is important to mention that not all patients who snore have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and vice-versa. You will typically notice snoring in combination with other related symptoms.
What Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Approximately 18 million Americans between the ages 30 – 60 and about 1 – 3% of children suffer from sleep apnea. Causes and risk factors of OSA include:
Obesity: Fat deposits around the throat and chest cause extra resistance which can obstruct breathing patterns. However, if you are overweight it does not mean you have OSA, many people of normal weight have OSA as well. In turn, people carrying extra weight are predisposed to sleep apnea.
Narrowed Upper Airway: Individuals with enlarged tonsils or tongue, and/or small jaw can restrict the size of the upper airway, resulting in the development of OSA.
Family History: Sleep apnea is hereditary. If a member of your family has a sleep apnea diagnosis, you may be at an increased risk to develop OSA.
Age, Gender, & Heritage: Most common in men over 65 and post-menopausal women, OSA also is more common in blacks, Latinos, and Pacific Islanders.
Smoking & Alcohol: Smokers are three times more likely to have OSA. Alcohol causes the muscles to relax, resulting in the collapse of the upper airway.
High Blood Pressure & Diabetes: Individuals with hypertension are highly susceptible to OSA and three times more common in those with diabetes.
Chronic Nasal Congestion: OSA can occur predominantly in those who have consistent nasal congestion.
How to Treat and Diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Using several different available types of sleep studies, once Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders establishes a diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, we offer non-surgical solutions so you can regain a restful night’s sleep. Oral Appliance Therapy treatment is available at our sleep centers near you. This therapy in conjunction with changes in behavior and lifestyle such as weight loss, physical exercise, and avoidance of smoking, drinking, sedative medication will also benefit you. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or have questions about OSA, give us a call today. If you would like to book an appointment at one of our multiple Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders locations, click here to find your nearest sleep clinic.