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What is Sleep Apnea? – Worthington, PA

Are You Getting a Good Night’s Sleep?

Woman laying in bed awake due to sleep apnea in Worthington, PA

You should always give yourself at least eight hours to sleep every night – but even after setting aside enough time for your nightly slumber, you could still wake up feeling tired. It could mean that you’re one of 22 million Americans currently suffering from sleep apnea, a disorder that grows more and more dangerous the longer it goes untreated. To learn more about this condition as well as the proper way to treat it, contact our office and schedule a consultation with Dr. LJ Adam. 

Sleep Apnea Facts

Young man with beard snoring in bed

Sleep apnea is a kind of disorder where breathing repeatedly stops during the night. If you have this condition, it’s probably because something is blocking the airway, most likely some of the soft tissues or muscles located at the back of your mouth. Each interruption can last as long as one minute, and you could experience up to 30 or 40 every hour.

The vast majority of people with sleep apnea have yet to be diagnosed, often because their symptoms were mistaken as signs of a completely different problem. Common warning signs include loud chronic snoring, the occasional awakening while gasping for air, frequent morning headaches, persistent drowsiness, and cognitive issues such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to various health issues, including:

  • Fatigue that makes you more likely to doze off while driving or while working with heavy machinery.
  • High blood pressure and eventual heart problems, including sudden death from an irregular heartbeat.
  • Type 2 diabetes thanks to increased insulin resistance.
  • Complications when taking certain medicines or undergoing surgery, especially when you need to be sedated.
  • Abnormal liver functions.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

Pink oral appliance for treating sleep apnea

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, the first step will be to confirm it through an assessment. This will normally involve a sleep test that might be performed at a laboratory or in your own home using special equipment. As you sleep, your breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs will be monitored. The results should help us narrow down whether or not you’re suffering from sleep apnea or a different kind of disorder.

While a doctor will most likely recommend CPAP therapy (a system that forces air into the airway while you sleep), Dr. Adam prefers a much more comfortable, customizable, and convenient treatment: oral appliance therapy. The device will be made to adjust the jaw and keep it in a new resting position that will stop the soft tissues from collapsing and blocking the rest of the throat. In some circumstances, the disorder might be too severe for the oral appliance to work on its own; in those cases, it can be combined with a CPAP machine.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Young woman waking up in bed feeling refreshed

Are you snoring loudly every night or think you might be missing out on your rest? You should have the underlying cause identified as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Adam and ask about the first steps you’ll need to take.