It is estimated that 18 million people suffer from a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. People who suffer from sleep apnea could have mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis with a sleep study so it can be effectively treated.
How would I know if I’m at risk for sleep apnea?
A simple screening test (STOPBANG) can determine your risk and determine if you should undergo a sleep study.
1. Do you SNORE loudly at night?
2. Do you feel TIRED during the day?
3. Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing?
4. Do you have or are you being treated for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
5. BMI of more than 35?
6. AGE of 50 or older?
7. NECK size of 15 or greater in women and 17 or greater in males?
8. Male GENDER?
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions you are at high risk and should undergo a sleep study for a definitive diagnosis and proper treatment.
Can’t snoring just be snoring?
Sure, snoring can be present without sleep apnea (decrease in breathing), however, if you snore there is a high likelihood that you have some level of sleep apnea. There is no way to tell just by looking at someone if they do or do not have sleep apnea. A sleep study that is interpreted by a sleep physician is necessary to find out if you have snoring only or snoring associated with sleep apnea.
What does a sleep study entail?
Our Highlands Ranch dentists can prescribe an at home sleep test. This requires you wear a sleep machine for one night in the comfort of your own home then return to our office the next morning. The data is then sent to a team of sleep physicians for reading, interpretation, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations.
What happens if I do nothing?
Studies show that those who have untreated sleep apnea have a drastic decrease in life span and show a great increase in having other illnesses. These people suffer from Type II diabetes, Heart disease, impotence, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity to name a few.
What are the suggested treatments?
Mild to moderate sleep apnea can effectively be treated by your dentist with an oral appliance. These appliances are custom made and titrated individually to provide the most effective treatment for the individual. Severe sleep apnea should be treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and can be prescribed through your primary care physician. If you hate your CPAP and cannot wear, you may be a candidate for an oral appliance.