What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes patients to stop breathing several times throughout the night. This occurs because the airway is blocked by excess tissue, dramatically reducing the amount of oxygen that travels to the brain.
When you have a sleep apnea episode, the brain prompts you to wake up and start breathing again. At this point, you’ll often gasp for air. Sleep apnea patients typically experience between 5 and 30 episodes each hour while sleeping. But they usually don’t remember it the next morning.
The good news — sleep apnea is completely manageable. With the correct diagnosis and the right treatment, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully every night.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
The two most common signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring and gasping for air during the night. Additional symptoms include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Reduced libido
- Waking up with a headache
- Recent weight gain
- Impaired memory
- Lack of energy
- Decreased motivation
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call (503) 427-9587 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Tiffany Brown. She can refer you to a local sleep specialist to undertake a sleep test. If it turns out you’re suffering from sleep apnea, Dr. Brown will make sure you get the treatment that works best for you.
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and causes of OSA to determine whether you should seek treatment. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to greater health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Treating Your Sleep Apnea Without CPAP
The first line of defense against sleep apnea is usually CPAP therapy, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This machine forces warm air into your throat through a mask that’s connected to your face.
CPAP ensures that your airway will remain open throughout the night. Though it’s an effective form of treatment, many patients complain their CPAP machine is noisy, awkward, and difficult to use.
Dr. Brown offers oral appliances, an effective alternative to CPAP. This noninvasive treatment is a great alternative for patients who are unhappy with their CPAP. The small device works by shifting your jaw forward to clear the obstruction in your airway.
An oral appliance is easy-to-use because it’s small, comfortable, and you can take it anywhere. Best of all, it doesn’t make any noise, so you and your sleeping partner can sleep soundly through the night. When you get the proper treatment from Dr. Brown, sleep apnea doesn’t have to dictate your life.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Affecting nearly 90 million American adults, snoring is a common disruption that afflicts patients of all ages. Snoring is caused by the vibration of tissue while a person is asleep, and it’s often described as a humming or snorting sound.
If you find yourself snoring heavily and choking or gasping for air while sleeping, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. In fact, about half of the people who snore also have sleep apnea. The only way to find out for sure is to take a sleep test, which Dr. Brown will be happy to arrange.
No More Groggy Days
Once you’ve been diagnosed by a sleep specialist, Dr. Brown will help find the perfect treatment to fit your lifestyle. If you’re unhappy with your CPAP machine, we offer oral appliances, a less invasive method that can be used to treat sleep apnea and snoring.
To learn more about our sleep apnea care, just give us a call at (503) 427-9587 to speak with one of our friendly team members. If you want, we can schedule a free consultation with Dr. Brown so she can explain your treatment options in greater detail.
You can also leave us your contact information at the bottom of the page, and we’ll get right back to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway, which can be obstructed by several factors, including parts of your own mouth. Obesity, genetics, and physical obstructions, like a small airway or enlarged tonsils, can also prevent you from breathing properly.
What are common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?
Snoring is a frequent sign of sleep apnea, though not everyone who snores suffers from the sleep disorder. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, irritability, shortness of breath, and morning headaches.
How do I diagnose my sleep apnea?
Dr. Brown can refer you to a local sleep specialist to take a professional, overnight sleep test. By getting a proper diagnosis, Dr. Brown will be able to determine the best course of action for your unique condition.
How long is a sleep study?
A sleep study is typically conducted at night during a full eight to 10 hours of sleep. It’s important to record your sleep for at least six hours due to the repeated interruptions from sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
In most cases, a CPAP machine is the first prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. However, most patients stop using it altogether because it’s loud, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.
Dr. Brown provides custom-made, comfortable oral appliances to effectively treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea and excessive snoring. We may also offer additional alternatives to relieve your symptoms, depending on your case.
What if I don't seek treatment for my sleep apnea?
If you don’t treat your sleep apnea, the consequences can be detrimental to your health. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and more. That’s why it’s important to take a sleep test at the first sign of sleep apnea and seek treatment immediately to ensure a long, healthy life.