Sleep apnea is an under-diagnosed condition that prevents adults and children alike from getting the rest they deserve. Symptoms of sleep apnea include drowsiness, feelings of stress or depression, and may or may not be accompanied by snoring. Sleep apnea has also been known to cause nighttime teeth grinding, and increases the body's production of the protein Lectin, which can make it difficult for sleep apnea patients to lose weight. If you, your partner, or another family member has trouble with any of these, it could be a sign of sleep apnea.
Patients with sleep apnea cycle through a pattern of sleeping and waking throughout the night, often because of obstructed airways. The cause of the obstruction can vary from case to case, but the result is the same. As airways become obstructed, patients may begin to snore. Then, as airways become blocked completely, oxygen levels in the blood drop, prompting the brain to send out signals awakening patients. Because patients may not wake up completely, though, many with sleep apnea have not been diagnosed.
For years, a CPAP machine was the primary method for treating sleep apnea. But many patients have had difficulty sleeping with a CPAP, which is why most offices now treat sleep apnea cases with a custom-made oral appliance. Oral appliances work by repositioning the tongue or lower jaw, resulting in clear airways that help patients stop snoring and get the much-needed rest they deserve.