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11 Things to Know about Sleep Apnea

#1:  There are CPAP Alternatives

For many years, the treatment of choice for sleep apnea was a CPAP—continuous positive airway pressure—machine. With this therapy, patients strap a mask around their head and over their nose and mouth. Continuous mild air pressure is then delivered through the mask in order to keep the airway from collapsing or becoming blocked. The problem with a CPAP device, however, is that many patients fail to use the machine nightly because it is uncomfortable, bulky and noisy. Thus, for some the treatment becomes worse than the condition.
Nevertheless, sleep apnea is a condition that must be treated not only for the sake of a good night’s sleep, but because this sleep disorder has been linked to several illnesses and diseases including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and impotence. Furthermore, because sleep apnea repeatedly disrupts sleep during the night, the resultant sleepiness during the day is a leading reason for many auto collisions.

#2 Dental Sleep Appliances Do Work

Fortunately, there are CPAP alternatives Tulsa residents can now depend on to help them get the healthful rest they need each night. At Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care, Dr. Nauman can prescribe a custom oral appliance. By slightly shifting your lower jaw forward, this comfortable oral appliance helps to maintain an open airway that does not become blocked by the tongue or other soft tissue in your throat. Dr. Nauman always ensures that your appliance fits correctly when you first receive it, and then she follows up with studies conducted while you’re sleeping with the appliance in place. The results from these studies help to confirm that the oral appliance is doing the job of reducing your sleep apnea and supporting free and open breathing.

The most commonly used sleep apnea appliance is known as a mandibular advancement device, or MAD. This type of device is designed and custom-made by your dentist with the specific shape of your mouth in mind. This ensures that you will not only be more comfortable, but that we achieve optimal results the first time.

A tongue retaining device is another sleep apnea solution sometimes used to keep the airway open while you sleep. Also known as a tongue stabilizing device, this simple splint is worn while you sleep and prevents the tongue from blocking your airway. Treatment with this kind of device has been proven effective in snoring cessation as well.

Contact Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care to learn more about sleep apnea and treatment, or to schedule your  consultation. Our Tulsa office is glad to provide CPAP alternatives such as oral appliances for patients from Bixby, Sand Springs, Jenks, Sapulpa, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Okmulgee, and all surrounding communities.

#3: Sleep Apnea & Acid Reflux can be Related

Sleep Apnea is a chronic condition that causes a person's breathing to be interrupted during sleep. It's annoying, distressing and can sometimes be fatal. Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea and, interestingly, there seems to be a connection between sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux, or acid reflux. But what comes first, sleep apnea or acid reflux? Dr. Angie Nauman in Tulsa, OK is here to help.

Eighty percent of people diagnosed with acid reflux report the heartburn closely affiliated with this condition occurs mostly at night. Think about it: when you're awake and upright, gravity keeps stomach acids from leaking back into the esophagus, which causes the heartburn feeling. What happens when you lie down to sleep? You guessed it - these acids easily flow backward.

Fight Back Against Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux

Regardless of whether the reflux or sleep apnea occurs first, this is your chance to knock two birds out with one stone incorporating sleep apnea therapy.

Don't bother with masks and hoses (CPAP) while you sleep; Dr. Nauman is happy to offer an effective and comfortable solution that serves as an excellent alternative. With a custom oral appliance, we can help reposition the jaw and tongue so that the airway remains unimpeded while sleeping.

The most commonly used appliance is a mandibular advancement device (MAD). It's designed and customized to the shape of your mouth ensuring you will not only be more comfortable, but you'll see and feel results the first time.

#4 There are Links between Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Is snoring a problem in your household? It’s estimated that over 90 million American households are losing sleep because of loud snoring each night. Snoring related sleep disturbances can occur for both the snorer and the people closest to them. About half of all snorers are considered primary snorers, while the other half are actually suffering from a sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Although patients with OSA almost always have a chronic snoring problem, loud and frequent snoring does not always indicate the presence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Primary snoring and OSA are too often inaccurately diagnosed interchangeably, and are commonly incorrectly treated as a result of this mislabeling. When you choose to visit Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care in Tulsa, OK, you can rest assured that sleep apnea and snoring specialist, Dr. Nauman, will get to the bottom of your snoring or sleep apnea problems.

Snoring Disorder Causes

Snoring is the direct result of soft tissues in the back of the throat relaxing to the point that they partially block the airway and vibrate as you sleep. Many factors contribute to the development of snoring including: an individual’s anatomy, genetic predisposition, and behavioral factors like alcohol consumption, weight gain, and sleep position. Depending on all of these factors, the actual sound of the vibration can be frequent or infrequent, loud or soft.

#5 A Consultation Could Save Your Life

Loud frequent snoring is one of the first indicators of OSA, which is a chronic condition characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. When you have OSA, the airway in your throat becomes completely blocked periodically as you sleep. When people with OSA fall asleep, they can stop breathing for a few seconds to a minute or more, and then wake suddenly and fall back asleep, cycling constantly throughout the night. Both snoring and OSA can be caused or made worse by weight gain, large tongue and tonsils, aging, and head or neck shape. If you or your partner is a frequent loud snorer, stops breathing, gasps or chokes during sleep, experiences excessive restlessness at night, or feels fatigued during the day, it’s time to seek obstructive sleep apnea treatment.

Snoring & Sleep Apnea Appointments

Too often, snoring can be dismissed as a natural part of life. While it’s true that snoring incidence can increase occur over time with age and weight gain, it should not be accepted as an inevitable life occurrence, and should be comprehensively treated. To protect the health of the snorer and the quality of life of those closest to them, make a snoring and sleep apnea consultation appointment with Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care today. Dr. Nauman is a trusted sleep apnea and snoring specialist. Our sleep center in Tulsa, OK, protects the health and well being of patients daily throughout Tulsa, Ok, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Jenks, Coweta, Oakhurst, and the surrounding communities.

#6 The Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea could cost you far more than just a good night’s rest; it could cost you your good health. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when your breathing is interrupted as you sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea can stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times throughout the night. There are two basic categories of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea.  The most common forms of apnea, OSA, is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse as you sleep. Unlike OSA, with Central Sleep Apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Untreated Sleep Apnea?

Left untreated, sleep apnea may cause poor performance in everyday activities, depression, chronic headaches, acid reflux, weight gain, adult onset asthma, and other serious medical conditions including:

  • High blood pressure: The frequent nighttime awakenings cause hormonal systems to go into overdrive, which can result in high blood pressure levels at night. Also, low blood-oxygen levels, caused by the frequent cutoff of oxygen, may also contribute to hypertension in people with sleep apnea.
  • Stroke: The disrupted oxygen flow caused by sleep apnea makes it hard for your brain to regulate the flow of blood in arteries and the brain itself.
  • Heart Problems (heart failure, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks): People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to suffer heart attacks and die in the middle of the night.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Up to 80% of diabetics have some form of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation can also cause insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

#7 Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea affects approximately 18 million American adults, though many who suffer from this common sleep disorder are unaware that they have a problem at all. Knowing the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can help you as you begin a dialogue with your dentist so that you can work together toward successful treatment.

How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

Because many of the most prevalent sleep apnea symptoms surface at night while you are asleep, it can often prove difficult to determine whether or not you are actually suffering from a sleep disorder. This is why it is so important to see your sleep apnea specialist, Dr. Nauman, if you notice any of the following.

  • Loud, persistent snoring. Snoring is a result of an obstruction of the airways while a person sleeps. In cases of sleep apnea, the soft tissues of the throat and mouth prevent the proper intake of air, resulting in a regular vibration and the sound we associate with snoring.
  • Gasping for breath. When sleep apnea causes lengthy pauses in breathing, your brain sends a signal to various muscle groups in your body in an attempt to awaken you. After a period without breathing, patients with sleep apnea will frequently gasp for oxygen. This may alarm a sleeping partner, even if the person experiencing the apnea is unaware of their actions.
  • Excessive daytime fatigue. Individuals with sleep apnea don't get enough of the restful sleep they need to function properly during the day. Feeling foggy, easily confused, and generally exhausted are all common signs of sleep apnea.
  • Depression and/or irritability. Without proper rest, the brain and the body become drained. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and irritability, and may even eventually lead to chronic depression.
  • Frequent waking at night. Though the reason itself may not be apparent at first, waking often throughout the night (to use the restroom or to get a glass of water) is actually a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Those affected may also awaken with a sore throat or headache, as well as an inability to focus.

#8 Obesity and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be caused or worsened by excessive weight gain especially as weight is gained on or around the face. Sleep apnea is the chronic stopping of breath for 10 seconds or longer while asleep. Most often apnea is caused by an obstruction of the wind pipe by the tongue, throat, jaw or neck. Many who suffer from OSA find the use of small dental appliance a much more comfortable, convenient way to treat apnea than the traditional CPAP therapies. Our Tulsa, OK office has a unique staff of physicians and dentists who can help you determine the right treatment plan. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Is There a Correlation Between Obesity and Apnea?

Obesity has been labeled an epidemic in America. Children are the most adversely affected population. A 20-year CDC study of obesity related hospital visits among children six to 17 showed a 436% increase in the number of children who sought treatment for sleep apnea. Adults have not been exempt from growing obesity percentages or significant increase in sleep apnea cases over the last 20 years though their numbers have not increased as drastically as that of children.

Researchers agree that obesity has an impact on incidence of sleep apnea. However, a more surprising finding was that sleep apnea might be a predictor of obesity. Originally believed to be a simple correlation between the lack of sleep causing decreased motivation to exercise, doctors made a startling discovery while conducting a sleep study on healthy men and women with average BMI. About 50% got less than 6.5 hours of sleep though they did not show symptoms of apnea or disordered sleep other than a reduced number of hours. The study revealed that these patients experienced hormonal shifts that put them at greater risk for weight gain related to thyroid disease, diabetes and other physiological disorders.

While studies are ongoing, it seems that obesity and sleep apnea are definitely connected, and at Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care we want to help you treat both health concerns.

Make an Appointment

If your BMI places you in the “obese” range and you’ve been experiencing extreme lack of energy or inability to sleep, let us help you determine if you could benefit from using one of our custom made dental appliances to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Don’t spend another sleepless night, make the call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Nauman at Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care today. Our Tulsa office welcomes patients from surrounding communities including Bixby, Sand Springs, Jenks, Sapulpa, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Claremore, and Okmulgee.

#9 Sleep Apnea can have Many Complications

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that involves the cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep. Although you may not realize this is happening repeatedly during the night, your brain receives a message to awaken you in order to restart breathing. The consequences of this vicious cycle to your overall health are very real. Here are a just a few of the complications that can result from sleep apnea.

Hypertension and heart disease. During a sleep apnea episode, your blood oxygen level drops, because you are not breathing. This in turn causes your blood pressure to rise, which strains your cardiovascular system. Obstructive sleep apnea - when your tongue and other soft tissue block your airway during sleep - is particularly associated with atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and other vascular conditions. If a patient already has a known heart condition, then these repeated drops in your blood oxygen level may be the underlying cause of heart failure and death.

Daytime sleepiness. Because a person with sleep apnea may be awakened so many times during the night, deep and rejuvenating sleep may be next to impossible. As a result, daytime sleepiness, along with a lack of energy and irritability, typically result. People often complain of having trouble concentrating. Many of our patients have reported falling asleep at work or at school. But perhaps the most life-threatening consequence of sleep apnea is the number of automobile accidents that are associated with sleepiness.

Surgery complications. For a patient undergoing surgery, obstructive sleep apnea becomes a worry during and after a procedure. Surgery usually necessitates being sedated and lying on your back. Both of these increase the likelihood of an episode of sleep apnea. If you know that you have sleep apnea, tell your doctor about your condition and about the treatments you are taking for sleep apnea. For surgical patients who don’t know they have sleep apnea, circumstances can be even riskier.

Liver consequences. Liver function tests on sleep apnea patients are more like to be abnormal. In addition, their livers are scarred more often.

Unhappy sleep partners. The consequences of sleep apnea do not begin and end with the person who has the condition. Loud snoring associated with sleep apnea can prevent others in your household from getting the sleep they need, too. Very often the only solution is for bed partners to sleep apart.

Other notable complications of sleep apnea include depression, headaches, memory issues, frequently getting up to go to the bathroom at night and impotence.

If you’re in Tulsa, sleep apnea complications could be putting your health at risk. Call our sleep apnea center at (918) 254-8686 to learn more about the sleep apnea risks Tulsa residents should know about. Our Tulsa office is happy to provide oral appliance therapy to patients from Bixby, Sand Springs, Jenks, Sapulpa, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Okmulgee, and all surrounding communities.

#10: Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing while you sleep during the night. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of blood flow through the body’s arteries is too high. Although they may see like two completely unrelated conditions, research proves otherwise. Studies on patients who have sleep apnea show that they are at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure in the future. Therefore, doctors and researchers have drawn a connection between having sleeping and eventually developing hypertension.

There are two types of sleep apnea and both can lead to high blood pressure. The most common form is obstructed sleep apnea. With this type of sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked when relaxed throat tissue and your tongue fall back against your airway. Central sleep apnea is a neurologically based condition that happens because the brain does not send a signal to your muscles to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form, but both can lead to serious health concerns, one of which is high blood pressure.

Over time, high blood pressure causes the walls of your arteries to become stretched and damaged, which can lead to ruptured blood vessels, scarring, a greater risk of blood clots, plaque build-up and eventually tissue and organ damage. Moreover, scarring and the buildup of plaque means your heart must work harder to pump blood.

The Link between Sleep Apnea and Hypertension

When a person who has sleep apnea momentarily stops breathing during the night, the body’s oxygen level falls. This alerts the brain, which signals blood vessels to constrict in order to increase the amount of oxygen the brain and heart receive.

If this only happened periodically through the night, then the concern might not be so great. However, the pattern of low oxygen levels and constricting blood vessels tends to continue throughout the day.

To eliminate sleep apnea and thereby reduce the risk of hypertension, Dr. Nauman and her team at Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care design a custom-fitted oral appliance that positions the jaw slightly forward, thereby ensuring that your airway remains open. You’ll breathe more easily, you’ll sleep better and chances are you’ll also lower your blood pressure, too.

#11: There are Ways to Stop Snoring

Do you sleep peacefully through the night or does someone shouting the words, “Stop snoring!” interrupt your rest? Whether you are the one snoring or the person next you is the snorer—or even someone down the hall—snoring related sleep disturbances are quite common. Too common, actually. Among people who sleep with a partner, 59 percent complain about snoring. And a full 40 percent of people over the age of 40 snore. That adds up to a lot of lost sleep during the night and tiredness, irritability and moodiness during the day.

Sometimes snoring is an indication of a more serious condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which literally means that you stop breathing for short periods of time during the night. When breathing restarts, it is usually marked by a loud snore or snort. But not all snoring is connected to OSA. Some people are considered primary snorers. At Glisten Dental & Sleep Apnea Care in Tulsa, OK, Dr. Nauman will be able to determine if your snoring is indicative of sleep apnea or not.

In any case, all snoring stems from the same anatomical cause. When you are sleeping, your tongue and other soft tissue in your throat relax and tend to fall and block your airway. Then as air passes by, this tissue vibrates, making that annoying and disturbing snoring sound.

Dr. Nauman can stop snoring with oral appliance therapy. Worn at night, this comfortable plastic appliance moderately shifts your lower jaw forward. In this position, your tongue is kept out of the way and your breathing passage is opened wider. Thus, you can breathe more easily and the soft tissue in your throat does not vibrate. The snoring is silenced, so you, your bed partner and others in your household can sleep better at night.

Schedule Your Appointment to Stop Snoring

If snoring has been a problem for you, then you don’t have to live with the negative consequences, such as interrupted sleep and annoyed family members. Dr. Nauman and her staff will accurately diagnose the cause of your snoring and treat appropriately. In many cases, patients experience relief from snoring after only a few night of wearing an oral appliance. Therefore, routinely wearing your oral appliance every night is recommended. Our sleep center in Tulsa, OK, protects the health and well-being of patients daily throughout Tulsa, Ok, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Jenks, Coweta, Oakhurst, and the surrounding communities.

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