Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep condition that affects a persons ability to breath while sleeping. It is characterized by numerous pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that if left untreated can cause a multitude of health problems including; high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
There are three types of Sleep Apnea:
- Obstructive: which is caused by the collapsing or blockage of the airway either by enlarged tonsils, over sized tongue or being overweight can cause obstruction.
- Central: which is not caused by a blockage of the airway but is a neurological disorder where the body decreases or stops the effort of breathing during sleep.
- Mixed: which is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea
OSA is treatable with CPAP therapy. For central sleep apnea there is Bi-Pap therapy and ASV (Adaptive Servo Ventilation).
In mild cases oral appliances can be an effective treatment. Sleep Apnea is often difficult to detect as it occurs while sleeping. In many cases a family member or spouse are the first to noticed signs of sleep apnea. In order to be properly diagnosed with sleep apnea patients must undergo either an in-lab polysomnographic study (PSG) or an at home sleep test.
If the PSG test is positive then patients are fitted for their machine and tested again to ensure fit and appropriate airflow levels.