The silent killer
Sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans and is as common as type 2 diabetes. It leaves them tired and if left untreated, it causes stroke, impotence, weight gain, memory problems, hypertension, and poor performance from metabolic syndrome.
Hence, it is one of the most under diagnosed and debilitating conditions of our time.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep Apnea is a condition where you stop breathing in your sleep causing so your oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels which results in irreparable damage to your blood vessels and organs. Often people stop breathing hundreds of times during the night for a minute or longer without full awakening. As a result, most people do not know that they have sleep apnea and the condition becomes a silent killer with life-shortening consequences.
How do I know if I have Sleep Apnea?
You could be at risk for Sleep Apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
Sleepiness while driving
Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
If you experience any of these symptoms you should get tested for sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment today.
How do I get tested for sleep apnea?
If you own a wearable device, like a fitbit or a smartwatch, the easiest way to predict your risk of having sleep apnea is to use an app such as www.cardiogr.am. The app uses data from your wearable device and AI technology to assess the probability of you having sleep apnea with a 90% accuracy rate.
Another at home option is a home sleep test. These can be ordered by Dr. Amanda Cheng and you will be mailed a device to record your sleep for a couple of nights after which you mail back the device to have the results interpreted. The home sleep test will have less details about your condition, but is still fairly accurate.
The most accurate assessment method would be to do an overnight sleep test in a sleep lab. The polysomnography monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, limb movements, and blood oxygen levels. Due to the requirement for an overnight stay, this test is normally given to patients that exhibit severe sleep apnea or to confirm the results of other tests.
Non-Invasive - Oral Appliance
A custom made oral appliance is an effective life changing treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea which can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health. Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard and advances the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open. There are many types of oral appliances, Dr. Cheng will determine at the consultation the best type of oral appliance for you depending on your breathing and your bite. Custom-made oral appliances are emerging as an ideal treatment option particularly for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Surgery - Maxillomandibular Advancement
Patients with more severe obstructive sleep apnea are suitable for maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) surgery to move both jaws forward to open the airway in the anterior-posterior dimension and to expand the airway laterally which is key for preventing collapse of the airway. A minimum advancement of 10mm is needed to effectively treat sleep apnea. Many patients elect to have an MMA surgery since it is less painful than soft tissue surgery of the palate and has less relapse. MMA surgery is an instant solution to their disease that does not involve wearing awkward or restricting medical devices.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the traditional treatment option for mild to severe sleep apnea. The treatment uses a cumbersome mask connected to a loud machine. It is a highly effective if you are able to use it throughout the night. For many patients this is not possible due to a variety of factors from social unacceptability, interference with intimacy, claustrophobia, and delayed sleep onset. If this is the case, there are other treatment options available to help you get a good night's rest.