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Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Oral Appliance Therapy, Your Path to a Good Night’s Rest.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, a health condition that causes the body to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.
For most OSA patients, the apnea ‘event’ (breathing stopped) occurs multiple times per hour overnight.
Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnea
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The most characteristic sign of OSA is chronic, loud snoring followed by choking or gasping sounds. As the loose soft tissues in the airway begin to sag and restrict air flow, a limited amount of air passes through and vibrates against the tissues to create the loud, raspy sound of snoring.
The snoring OSA patient will go silent briefly when the airway is fully obstructed and breathing stops, then wake up suddenly, gulping and choking for air.
Often, obstructive sleep apnea patients are not aware of how heavily they snore until a sleep partner tells them. The common belief is that ‘everybody snores’ – so, many patients live with undiagnosed OSA. Not all patients that snore have obstructive sleep apnea, however.
How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed by medical sleep professionals with a sleep study that is performed using sensor technology at a sleep testing facility. The study measures vital signs, breathing patterns, brain wave and muscle activity, eye movement and other diagnostic data while the patient sleeps (polysomnogram).
Portable home sleep study equipment may also be used by your doctor for screening or follow up testing. While not as detailed as a sleep study, home testing equipment tracks basic breathing and heart rates and oxygen saturation levels during sleep.
What treatment options are available for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The primary goal of treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is to prevent airway restriction and impaired breathing (hypopnea) and blockage (OSA) to maintain healthy air flow and uninterrupted sleep. Sleep physicians may recommend a combination of common approaches to treatment for OSA: