Do you find yourself startled awake in the middle of the night, gasping for breath? Are you constantly exhausted in the mornings and struggling through the days, regardless of how early you went to bed? You might have a condition known as sleep apnea, and you are not alone: millions of Americans are affected by this disorder each night.
Even if you do not suffer from the symptoms yourself, your spouse or children might be victims of unsatisfactory sleep. If you notice a long pause in the slumbering breathing of someone you love, or if they seem to spasm or struggle for breath throughout the night, it might be sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which consists of abnormal breathing patterns. Those suffering may stop breathing while asleep, either for seconds or full minutes, anywhere from 5 – 30 times an hour. Because the person is not breathing, carbon dioxide will build up in the bloodstream and signal the brain to wake up. This disorder makes it impossible for those suffering from it to get a full nights’ sleep.
There are multiple types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Occurs when throat muscles relax and airflow is blocked; snoring is common
- Central Sleep Apnea – Occurs when the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
- Mixed Sleep Apnea- Combination of Obstructive and Central
The presence of sleep apnea is easily determined with a simple test known as a Polysomnogram, or “Sleep Study.” By monitoring and recording the biophsysiological changes of sleep (muscle activity, eye movement, heart rhythm and respiratory airflow) the study may diagnose many different sleep disorders.
Sleep apnea can affect adults as well as children, and may exist undiagnosed for years, even decades, without detection. If you wake up frequently at night, or stagger through each day in a tired fog, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. This is where Dr. Abbey Horwitz, DDS, can help. If you’ve got sleep apnea, we can construct an oral appliance just for you, called a mandibular advancement splint. This splint can open up the airway by shifting the lower jaw forward to open the bite.
Contact the offices of Horwitz & Dorfman today with any questions about Sleep Apnea.