SNORING And SLEEP APNEA
Learn to love the morning
While it does seem unconventional that your dentist can help you get a good night's sleep, it's actually your best option. A common obstacle in preventing a full night's rest is an obstruction of the airway. An analysis by Dr. Li to determine whether you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea can help you achieve deep, calm rest.
Snoring is a problem that affects 67 percent of adults. In addition, snoring not only affects you, but it burdens your bed partner and sometimes even your family's lives.
Snoring occurs when the tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth vibrates against the back of the throat. It can be caused by one or more of the following:
Snoring may also be an indication of a bigger health problem – sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat close off the airway and prevent air flow into the lungs. This blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, daytime drowsiness, waking up not refreshed, gasping, sudden awakenings and other sleep problems. Sleep apnea can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, low blood-oxygen levels, hypertension, diabetes, an enlarged heart, heart attack, stroke and premature death.
While sleep apnea is easily recognized and treatable, patients need to be tested to identify which sleep disorder they suffer from. Through a simple test and proven treatment options, those suffering from sleep apnea can live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle.
Sleep apnea diagnosis is done with the help of a PSG, or a polysomnograph, a special series of tests performed overnight while you sleep.
What is a Polysomnograph?
A PSG test can identify a variety of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, UARS, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and REM disorders.
The test consists of attaching a series of leads and belts to your head and body. The test measures the various stages of your sleep and physiologic functions such as breathing, heart rate, oxygen content of your blood, leg movements, eye movements, sleep position, airflow, chin movement and brain activity.
A PSG test will tell your physician about the quality of your sleep and the severity of your disorder, as well as help them identify the treatment option best suited for you.
While a complete diagnosis will need to be made by a physician at a sleep clinic in a hospital, Dr. Li has a modified version of a PSG recorder that patients can take home. She also uses the take-home machine to verify the effectiveness of those patients fitted with an oral appliance. The appliances can be adjusted if necessary.
Traditional methods of treatment for sleep apnea include the CPAP mask (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which provides a stream of air pressure to keep the airway passages from closing.
The CPAP mask is a proven method of treatment, but since it must be worn on the face during sleep, many find it to be uncomfortable and irritating. The CPAP mask is the treatment of choice for severe sleep apnea. However, for mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are a good option, as stated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. These oral appliances hold the lower jaw and tongue in a better position, and allow a larger airway with reduced obstruction.
Dr. Li provides a variety of oral appliances that can be chosen based on comfort, durability and adjustability. Dr. Li also provides her patients with a follow up home PSG test one month after the appliance is received to ensure its effectiveness.
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