What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Sleep Apnea Specialist | Serving Vancouver WA and Portland OR
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition that effects on average 25 million Americans annually. The symptoms range from mild too severe and may critically affect the quality of sleep. They often include snoring and chronic breathing disruptions resulting in lack of sleep and inability to rest. This sleep disorder reduces oxygen levels by blocking the airways with collapsed soft tissues in the back of the oral cavity.
Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Patients with properly diagnosed sleep apnea will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms that are often noted by their sleeping partner as well:
- Misalignment of the jaws
- Lingering fatigue during the day
- High blood pressure
- Chronic acid reflux
- Erectile dysfunction
Without the proper treatment, OSA may lead to stroke, diabetes and heart disease. The process of diagnosis may begin with an overnight stay at a sleep center where the patient’s behavior is closely monitored during the night, and the OSA data is analyzed in detail in the morning. As each case is unique, every treatment is tailored to the specific needs of the patient.
The Treatment for Sleep Apnea
The most conservative way of treatment for OSA is the nightly use of oral night guards. They are fabricated from plastic and in such creative way that it keeps the lower jaw slightly forward to allow the airways to remain open. It is most effective for snoring and other symptoms of sleep disorders.
More aggressive method of sleep therapy is the application of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This technique involves the use of an appliance with a constantly running mechanical device. Some patients may find CPAP bothersome as its humming noise may not allow for a fully restful sleep.
The most invasive manner of sleep disorder treatment is surgery in various degrees. The sleep specialist works closely with the patient’s regular medical doctor as well as the dentist, both of which are familiar with the patient’s medical history. Each professional contributes to the overall treatment that will benefit the patient the most in a timely manner.