Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects approximately 22 million Americans. It is characterized by pauses in breathing while sleeping. It is not uncommon for these pauses to last from seconds to several minutes. As a matter of fact, these breathing pauses can occur up to 30 times an hour. When breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, the brain and the rest of the body does not receive enough oxygen.
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common types of sleep apnea. Typically, it causes a block in the airway. Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. Specific signs and symptoms associated with sleep apnea are:
- Chronic Sleepiness
- Morning Headaches
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
Risk factors include:
- Being overweight
- Having large tonsils, small jaw bone or large tongue
- Gastro esophageal reflux
- Being over the age of 40
- Nasal obstruction due to sinus problems, allergies and a deviated septum
- Having a larger neck size
Oral appliance therapy is usually successful in the treatment of sleep apnea for people with mild to moderate symptoms. The appliance is known as a mandibular advancement splint and is a custom-made mouthpiece. This device moves the lower jaw forward and opens the bite. As a result, the airway is opened. Dr. Schau has special training and professional credentials in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and can construct this oral appliance to help your sleep apnea. If you suspect that you are suffering from sleep apnea, be sure to give Dr. Schau a call.