Sleep apnea disrupts breathing or stops a person from breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the predominant sleep-related breathing disorder, and it causes many health and quality of life issues. OSA occurs when the airway is partially or fully closed while a person sleeps. Soft tissues in the back of the throat, or a relaxed tongue, block airflow.
Despite its prevalence, many of our patients ask what is sleep apnea? We can discuss the answer during a consultation, as well as the obstructive sleep apnea treatments that are available. In Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Dr. Sharon B. Mateja offers non-invasive, custom-fitted oral appliances.
How Serious Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When the throat muscles relax and soft tissues block the airway, either partially or completely, the body responds to overcome the blockage. During an OSA episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles increase pressure to open the airways. Breathing typically recommences with a loud gasp, choking, or body jerk.
So how serious is sleep apnea, really? According to an article on Healthline, “The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 38,000 people in the United States die each year from heart disease with sleep apnea as a complicating factor.”
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The first noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is usually loud snoring and obviously repeated pauses in your breathing during sleep. However, the list of symptoms is quite long. Patients often complain of:
- Waking up with a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, taking multiple naps, or falling asleep during low-energy activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Low libido or impotence
- Gasping or choking sounds when you wake
OSA Risk Factors
Additional risk factors of OSA include:
- Excess weight
- Larger neck sizes (over 17 inches for men and 15 for women)
- Narrow air passageways
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Gender (men are more likely to have OSA than women)
Sleep Apnea Assessment
Boasting a 99% success rate, Dr. Mateja uses the ARES™ Watermark system to effectively gather data on patient’s sleeping habits from the comfort of their own home. An overnight stay in a sleep lab isn’t always necessary with this test.
The Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES) incorporates medical history, BMI (body mass index), and physiological data from the home study to confirm and evaluate the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.
OSA Treatment Options
Dr. Mateja prescribes non-invasive oral appliance therapy at our Rancho Cucamonga office as an effective method to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Patients wear OSA oral appliances during sleep to move the lower jaw forward. This helps maintain an open upper airway. Some benefits of using an OSA oral appliance instead of a CPAP include:
- Easy portability
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to clean and maintain
If needed, Dr. Mateja can refer you to a specialist who can prescribe more intensive treatments or procedures.
Schedule an Evaluation Today
It’s time to schedule a sleep apnea assessment if you or your partner notice any of the symptoms noted above. Call our Rancho Cucamonga office at (909) 989-5959 or message us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mateja today.