Millions of Americans suffer from poor sleep quality every night causing them to wake up feeling exhausted. While some people simply have trouble sleeping, others wake up several times throughout the night gasping for air. This serious breathing issue is known as sleep apnea, and many of those who suffer from it don’t know that they are affected by it. Dr. Sanderson Cares about Sleep Apnea, see why HERE
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition which affects your breathing patterns as you sleep. There are several different types which are caused by varying factors. The most common cause is known as obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when the muscles in one’s throat relax excessively, causing a blockage in the airway. Another form is called central sleep apnea, where there is a disfunction in the central nervous system which causes the communication between your brain and the muscles associated with breathing to work improperly.
How Can Sleep Apnea be Diagnosed?
Many people suffer from sleep apnea without knowing it. Most cases are first detected by a spouse who notices snoring and pauses in breathing which is disrupting. Many people visit doctors after they are informed about their nighttime sleeping issues, but the diagnosis of of it is difficult unless it is tested for in a sleep clinic or a person’s home. A modern device known as watchPAT allows medical professionals to screen patients and diagnose the problem in the comfort of their own home. We have a relationship with a Sleep Physician to help us medically diagnose this problem.
What is watchPAT?
The watchPAT is a portable device used for the detection of sleep apnea which attaches to the wrist as a watch would. It is comfortable to wear while you sleep, and monitors a patient’s breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and how many times you are interrupted during the night. The watchPAT is a great tool which offers accurate monitoring and diagnostic information for anyone who is being screened.
Treatment After WatchPAT
Treatment considerations are determined after the patient brings back the WatchPAT device and the study is downloaded, at which point we will evaluate what happened during the night (ie how many events occurred and how severe each event was). With every patient we have a Sleep Physician evaluate our results.
Depending on the severity of the problem, we either do no treatment or we may make a dental device for mild to moderate sleep apnea. If the patient has severe symptoms or other complicating factors we may refer the patient to the sleep clinic for a C-Pap machine or other medically necessary treatment. Some patients require long-term treatment, which may be to have orthodontic therapy and possibly orthognathic surgery. Some patients who have severe sleep apnea who can not tolerate the C PAP and they do not want surgery can be helped with Dental Devices.
Do you suspect that you are being affected by sleep apnea? Schedule a consultation at SanDentistry today.