Recognizing and Fighting Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a dangerous disorder that afflicts millions of people across the United States. It can rob individuals of their health and overall quality of life. Even more troubling is the fact that OSA often remains undiagnosed! What can Dr. Allison Fowler do to help you achieve higher-quality sleep? This page discusses the answers to these important questions.
Do You Snore?
Snoring occurs when air moves past relaxed soft tissues in the mouth, causing them to vibrate and make a harsh or hoarse noise. In some cases, snoring is nothing more than an occasional annoyance. In many cases, however, it is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
In OSA, the soft tissues in the mouth, such as the tongue or soft palate, partially or fully block the airway during sleep. As a result, a person periodically stops breathing throughout the night. These episodes, called apneas, occur numerous times each hour and prevent the individual from getting the high-quality rest their body needs. In individuals with mild sleep apnea, apneas occur five or more times each hour. In severe OSA, apneas happen 30 or more times each hour. Each apnea causes the body to panic, which elevates blood pressure and disrupts the sleep cycle.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is not the only symptom of sleep apnea. Other indicators include:
- Teeth grinding
- Nighttime acid reflux
- Frequent waking throughout the night
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Waking with a sore or dry throat
- Morning headaches
- Waking up gasping for air
- Difficulty completing daytime tasks (like driving or concentrating at work)
- Mood problems, such as irritability or depression
- Problems with weight management
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to problems even more serious than the ones listed above. In fact, research has connected OSA to heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
How Do We Treat Sleep Apnea? – Oral Appliance Therapy
As an expert in your mouth and its functions, Dr. Fowler is well-equipped to provide oral appliances for your treatment.
An oral appliance is a small, custom-fitted device that repositions your lower jaw to allow freer airflow during sleep.
More severe cases of OSA may require additional therapy.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to seek help! Dr. Fowler can send you home with a machine that will monitor your sleep for a night. It will keep track of your blood oxygen level and breathing activity.
Dr. Fowler works with a local pulmonologist who is board-certified in sleep medicine. Following your in-home sleep study, the pulmonologist will interpret the results and will provide you a diagnosis. If you have OSA, Dr. Fowler can get you on the road to more restful nights.
Contact Our Team Today
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition, but it is highly treatable. Dr. Fowler is ready to help you! Contact our office today to schedule your consultation with her.