The consequences of obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea afflicts one in every five Americans
What other problems arise from OSA patients?


• Patients with moderate to severe OSA are 3x more likely to have a stroke
• The risk of stroke rises with the severity of the disease
• OSA is often found in patients following a stroke


• Sleep apnea is an identifiable cause of high blood pressure


• Newly diagnosed patients should be screened for OSA


• 4x as likely to have
atrial fibrillation


• OSA sufferers have a 30% higher risk of heart attack or premature death
• More than 50% of sudden deaths from OSA occur between 10 PM and 6 AM


• Severe forms of sleep apnea have a 65% greater risk of developing cancer


• Untreated sleep apnea costs Americans an extra $4.3 billion per year
• Treating sleep apnea can cut a patient’s health care costs in half


• Depression
• Anxiety
• Loss of motivation
• Shortened attention span
• Moodiness and bad temper
• Loss of testosterone


• 7x more likely to have a car accident
• Impaired concentration and memory loss
• Reduced work efficiency
• Slower reaction time


• Many patients may not be aware of their poor sleep quality


• Frequent urination at night


• Relationship discord
• Morning headaches


Possible treatment options are:
• CPAP therapy (continuous positive airway pressure)
• Dental oral sleep appliance
• Surgery as last resort
• Weight loss


• The treatment of sleep apnea may have as much of an effect as prescribed oral medications


• Up to 80% of patients with fibromyalgia have sleep apnea
• 75% of patients treated with moderate to high doses of opioids have sleep apnea


• As sleep shortens
or diminishes in quality
appetite for high-calorie food
• Approximately 80% of
OSA patients are overweight


• Loss of libido
• Impotence

If you suffer from any of the conditions above, consult with your physician or dentist about getting tested for sleep apnea.

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.

Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.

Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The first step in treatment for sleep apnea resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation.

In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, as well as the severity of the sleep apnea, a sleep study will be needed to monitor an individual overnight.

The sleep study can be completed at home and there is no need to go to a sleep study center.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. The second best option is a custom-made dental oral sleep appliance.  The last option should be, the uvula-palate-pharyngoplasty (UPPP) surgical option, which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUPP).

A certified sleep apnea dentist will fabricate a custom oral sleep appliance that will treat sleep apnea and snoring.  The first visit includes taking impressions and measurements using a special gauge, the second visit will be to deliver the dental oral sleep appliance.

Almost all patients who are treated with a dental oral sleep appliance are patients who could not tolerate a CPAP machine or decided not to use one.

OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.

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