Sleep Apnea in Lafayette, CO
Sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, is estimated to affect more than one out of every four American adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years. This finding was reported in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
While sleep apnea can leave you tired and miserable, most people don’t realize the severe stress that it places on your cardiovascular and nervous systems.
High blood pressure is linked to sleep apnea as well as changes in heartbeat rhythms. Sleep apnea can also be a contributing factor in strokes and heart attacks. A study published in the journal Sleep demonstrated that severe untreated sleep apnea was associated with changes in brain tissue.
Here’s the good news: Sleep apnea, once identified and diagnosed, is highly treatable and several treatment options exist depending on how severe the condition is.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
The first step is to obtain a proper diagnosis. Your primary health care provider or your general dentist can refer you to a sleep pathologist, who will perform tests to determine whether sleep apnea is present and if so, how severe the condition is. These tests can let you know how often breathing stops during sleep and how long each episode lasts. Once this information is available, we can discuss your treatment options.
Treating Sleep Apnea
The first line of treatment for most moderate to severe sleep apnea cases is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. This treatment requires that you wear a mask that supplies a steady stream while you sleep, which keeps your airways open and allows for continuous breathing.
CPAP masks and machines have improved considerably over the years. The machine, which pressurizes and hydrates the air, is usually no louder than a fan (some people even appreciate the white noise the machine produces), and the masks are much smaller and more comfortable.
Even so, approximately half of people for whom CPAP is recommended are unable to use this therapy. This may result from frustrations with the mask and machine, lack of a steady source of power, or the inconvenience of needing the machine when traveling. Some people unintentionally pull the masks off while they are sleeping.
In this case, we need to discuss different options.
Those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may benefit from the use of an oral appliance. This appliance is custom made to fit your mouth properly and is designed to pull the lower jaw slightly forward, preventing the soft tissues from collapsing and blocking your airway. Dr. Hayes can design such an appliance for you.
More severe cases may benefit from surgery.
Surgical Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Some cases of sleep apnea are so severe that surgery is the only appropriate option. Dr. Hayes has ample experience and skill in performing these types of surgery so you can get relief and the sleep you so desperately need.
Different procedures are available, and after consulting with your sleep pathologist and taking imaging studies, Dr. Hayes can determine which one is right for your specific needs. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Hayes today to find out more.
Call for an Evaluation
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you have either failed CPAP therapy or your sleep pathologist has suggested surgery, please call Coal Creek Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center in Lafayette, CO to learn more about your options. Good sleep is absolutely essential for good health, and we’ll help get you there.