Sleep apnea symptoms, risks, and treatment options in Turlock
There is nothing quite like waking up in the morning, feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to face your day. Unfortunately, many people never, or rarely, experience that feeling. Instead, they trudge through their days, feeling sluggish and drowsy, no matter how many hours they slept – and they might not even know why. That fatigue and daytime sleepiness are among the symptoms of sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that poses many risks to your overall health. The good news is that treatment is available, right here in Turlock, CA at the office of Ramsin K. Davoud DDS.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Apnea is a type of sleeping disorder that causes the patient to briefly stop breathing. Each interruption in breath is short, and therefore it would be harmless if it were isolated. However, it is not isolated. Instead, it happens repeatedly through the night, sometimes several times each hour.
There are two types of sleep apnea, classified according to cause.
- Central sleep apnea is of neurological origin. It happens when the muscles that control breathing do not receive the correct nerve signals. This type of apnea is quite rare.
- Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a physical blockage. It happens when muscle relaxation during sleep causes soft tissue to crowd the airway. This is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting an estimated 22 million American men and women.
Are you at risk?
Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, though it is much more likely in some people. Risk factors include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Obesity or a large neck – This is one of the most significant apnea risk factors, because excess tissue around the neck crowds the airway.
- Narrow air passage – Enlarged tonsils, injury, deformity, natural structure, or other factors can create a small airway, which leaves very little room for the sagging of relaxed muscles.
- Nighttime nasal congestion – If you suffer from chronic congestion for any reason, you are twice as likely to develop apnea.
- Smoking – Apnea is more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Diabetes – Experts believe diabetics also have a greater risk of apnea.
- Asthma – Researchers have established a link between asthma and increased apnea risk.
- Gender – Males have a higher risk than females do.
Existing patients call us at (209) 690-8051 or
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Symptoms you should know
There are many possible symptoms, with the most common including:
- Chronic, loud snoring, often occurring intermittently through the night
- Waking up suddenly gasping, coughing, or choking
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
- Frequent headaches, especially in the mornings
- Fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of libido
- Insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, night sweats
- Poor focus, short term memory problems
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Diagnosis and treatment
The only way to accurately diagnose apnea is by analyzing your breathing patterns and other physiological signs during sleep. At one time, the standard method of diagnosis was a sleep study, which requires the patient to spend a night in a laboratory. Thankfully, today there is a much more convenient option, using a very small devices that patients can wear while sleeping at home, in the comfort of their own beds. A qualified sleep physician analyzes the data, then determines if the person has sleep apnea, and how severe it is.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, the next step is developing a treatment plan. Traditionally, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) has been the go-to treatment for apnea. It is highly effective, and still widely recommended. Unfortunately, many people find it intolerable. CPAP therapy requires the patient to wear a mask, which has tubes connected to a machine that forces air into airway. Common complaints include discomfort, inconvenience, sound, and even allergies to the mask.
Dr. Davoud offers oral appliance therapy, which works by supporting the airway during sleep. It helps keep the airway open, so you can breathe feely and naturally. Appliances are lightweight, small enough to fit in your pocket, and custom made for a comfortable fit. Many patients find oral appliances to be effective, and preferable to CPAP for nightly use. Others use appliances for convenience when traveling, or as a backup during power outages.
If you think you may have apnea, or if you’ve been diagnosed and want a convenient alternative to CPAP, call us at (209) 666-8867 and arrange a consultation.