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Sleep Apnea & Snoring

During sleep, the soft tissue at the back of the throat can sag, resulting in a partial blockage of the upper airway. Incoming air then creates vibration in the soft tissue to form the sound of snoring. Many of those who snore, may already have or will likely develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or sleep disordered breathing.

If you snore or experience morning headaches or daytime sleepiness, download and complete a Sleep Apnea Questionnaire to share with your doctor.

Sleep Apnea is a disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This completely blocks the upper airway, stopping air flow into the lungs, and oxygen levels begin to drop in the brain. This partially awakens the sleeping person, allowing the obstruction in the throat to clear and starting air flow back into the lungs.

The prolonged effects of interrupted sleep can lead to slowed responses, memory problems, difficulty in paying attention, and contribute to other serious health problems.

Common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  • Irritability or changes in behavior
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heartburn
  • Night sweats
  • Nocturia (frequent night-time urination)
  • Restless sleep

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can cause:

  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart disease and heart attack
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain

Treatment Options

For patients that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Hayslip works closely with sleep specialists to design an oral appliance to use alone or in conjunction with CPAP.

CPAP Therapy

The most commonly prescribed method of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive air pressure). The CPAP delivers room air under pressure through a nasal mask worn during sleep. Many people get used to the CPAP machine quickly, but some do not. Common side effects include nasal congestion, eye irritation, sinus irritation, skin irritation and gastric distension (air in the stomach).

Oral Appliances

Oral appliance therapy can be an effective alternative for those who are intolerant to breathing machines like CPAP. They may also be used as first-line treatment for primary snoring that is not associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

These devices are placed in the mouth and fit much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector. They are worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat so that the airway stays open during sleep.

Sometimes oral appliances must be assisted by CPAP to achieve desirable clinical results.

If your snoring is disrupting your sleep, or you are suffering from symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Contact Us to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Hayslip to learn about treatment options.