Understanding Sleep Apnea Basics

When Rest Isn't So Easy

 

UNDERSTANDING SLEEP APNEA BASICS

It is estimated that 18 million people have sleep apnea.

That's 1 in every 15 people.

WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

A serious disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted while he or she is asleep. Individuals with sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times during sleep, depriving the brain and body of much-needed oxygen.

SIGNS/SYMPTOMS

  • Choking
  • Snoring
  • Gasping
  • Restless Sleep
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Morning Headaches
  • Dry or sore mouth upon waking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extended pauses in breathing during sleep

RISK FACTORS

  • Obese
  • Over age 40
  • Male
  • Large Tonsils or Tongue
  • Small jaw
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
  • Nasal Obstructions
  • Large Neck (17"+ for men and 16"+ for women)

TREATMENT

CPAP

  • A machine that uses a steady stream of air to keep your airway open throughout the night
  • The user wears a mask that is hooked to a machine by a hose
  • Should be used any time you sleep, even for naps
  • Reduces symptoms of sleep apnea, including snoring, and prevents other associated health risks


MAS (Manduibular Advancement Splint)

  • Removable device that fits like a mouthguard, custom fitted by a dentist
  • Helps pull the lower jaw forward, opening the airway
  • Easier to use and less cumbersome than CPAP
  • Small enough to fit in a carry-on bag for travel
  • Ideal for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea

Surgery

  • Common procedures reduce or eliminate tissue in the throat
  • Other surgeries adjust bone structure
  • Weight loss surgery may help obese patients reduce their apnea symptoms
  • Benefits may not be permanent, as apnea reoccurs in some cases
  • Generally less effective than CPAP or MAS 

REFERENCES

What is Sleep Apnea (2012, July 10). Retrieved August 27, 2014, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/

Sleep Apnea. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2014, from http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea