If you have been struggling with getting a good night’s sleep, excessive snoring, or daily exhaustion, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that is estimated to affect more than 22 million Americans and the American Sleep Apnea Association reports that nearly 80% of cases have yet to be diagnosed. That means there are millions of people living with the impact of this disorder who don’t even know they have it. Are you one of those people? Read on to learn more about the condition and how options like at-home sleep studies and devices such as ProSomnus can help you get the rest your body needs.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When we sleep at night, our bodies are typically able to perform the normal functions of inhalation and exhalation without issue; for a person living with obstructive sleep apnea, the experience is quite different. Instead of a consistently open airway, their upper throat muscles relax off and on throughout the period the person is asleep, temporarily closing the airway and causing the individual to stop breathing momentarily. This can cause a variety of issues for those who are afflicted. Individuals with this form of sleep apnea may snore, stop breathing periodically or wake up gasping for air throughout the night.
The Negative Impact of Sleep Apnea
The negative impact of sleep apnea can be quite dramatic. People with this condition have reported exhaustion during daytime activities, poor focus, and, in the case of excessive or loud snoring, damaged personal relationships. The Mayo Clinic also notes some less common symptoms such as morning headaches, irritability and depression, low libido, sore throat, or excessive sweating. That’s just the immediate impact. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, and even strokes. In short, sleep apnea is not a condition to ignore. Fortunately, there are options for diagnosing and treating this condition and Ashland Dental can help.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea with an At-home Sleep Study
Part of our commitment to complete health includes ensuring our patients get the sleep they need each night, including options such as diagnosing sleep apnea with an at-home sleep study and offering treatment through oral therapy devices like ProSomnus.
One of the many questions we ask during our patient screening is, “How are you sleeping?” Recently, a patient of ours answered this question by reporting that they were an excessive, loud snorer who woke up frequently throughout the night and lived with persistent jaw pain from grinding their teeth while asleep. They found themselves exhausted, experiencing constant mood swings, and needing to nap often to function.
We recommended an at-home sleep study and provided the patient with a breathing monitor to wear while sleeping to track how they breathed throughout the night. It’s a simple system that allows our team to gather information about how patients sleep without too much disruption to the patient’s routine. Those who have used it have described it as unobtrusive, easy to wear, and comfortable to sleep with.
After reviewing the results of the study, we discovered that our patient would frequently stop breathing throughout the night, at one point stopping 17 times in a single hour, sometimes for a duration of up to 20 seconds! Obstructive sleep apnea was the culprit. The patient was surprised:
“I had no idea I had sleep apnea. I just thought me being tired was one of many symptoms of getting older, along with mood swings and craving food.
Treat Sleep Apnea with ProSomnus
With this new information, our team was able to swing into action, creating a plan to treat sleep apnea with ProSomnus to help our patient solve their issue and take back their rest — and their quality of life. ProSomnus differs from one of the more familiar methods of treating sleep apnea — the CPAP machine. A CPAP machine keeps airways open with consistent air pressure delivered through hoses inserted into the nostrils. ProSomnus uses arches in the upper and lower parts of the patient’s mouth to move the jaw forward while they are sleeping. This keeps the soft tissues from settling into the back of the throat and obstructing the airway.
Many patients love the fact that the device is customized to their unique needs, making it a comfortable appliance that doesn’t impact sleep. After all, isn’t the point to get more sleep? The cure can’t be worse than the symptoms. The structure of the device allows freedom of movement and the ability to open and close the mouth while asleep, creating even more comfort for the wearer. Remember the patient mentioned above? They’re sleeping much more soundly thanks to their new ProSomnus oral sleep apnea appliance:
“I sleep so soundly it’s amazing. My jaw and teeth don’t hurt anymore. I thought I was well-rested and now I know I wasn’t. I hardly drink any coffee to keep me going now because I have natural energy. It’s amazing!”
If you’ve been experiencing trouble sleeping or are concerned about conditions such as sleep apnea, Ashland Dental & Wellness may be able to help. Our commitment to complete health includes supporting your overall physical and mental well-being and there is no question that a good night’s sleep is an integral part of healthy living. Give us a call today at 708-755-1333 or fill out our online form to learn more about our options for helping you get a better night’s sleep.