Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing is interrupted while asleep. People with undiagnosed sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while asleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This is a dangerous sleep disorder because it means that the body and the brain may not get enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the more common of the two forms of sleep apnea. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. This may be caused due to instability in the respiratory control center.
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem. If left untreated, it can lead to high blood
pressure and an increased risk for heart failure and stroke.
The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea may lead to problems at school or work as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medications or surgery.
Treatments for sleep apnea vary depending on the severity of each patient’s case and the type of apnea involved. Basic treatments may simply be behavioral and include losing weight, stopping smoking, or sleeping on the side rather than the back. CPAP machines or surgery may be used in more serious cases. Unfortunately, surgery involves risks and it’s estimated that 29-83% of sleep apnea patients do not tolerate or comply with CPAP.
Another treatment option is an oral device that positions the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. Studies have shown that Oral Appliance Therapy has a compliance rate around 90% due to it being easier and more comfortable to wear.
Dr. Ian Leopold was trained to treat sleep apnea using Oral Appliance Therapy and has helped numerous patients to sleep better and enjoy better health with this treatment. SLO Smiles can often bill your PPO medical insurance for Oral Appliance Therapy. Contact Dr. Ian Leopold and his office if you are suffering from sleep apnea!
Call (805) 541-0550