What is Sleep Apnea? – Mesa, AZ

Understanding This
Harmful Disorder Better

For many, sleep apnea is a very sneaky condition. You go to bed like you normally do, but in the morning, you feel as if you didn’t slept a wink. You may try to simply power through the exhaustion with lots of caffeine. More than 25 million Americans deal with sleep apnea right now, many of whom don’t realize that they have it. Of course, you may be wondering what is sleep apnea, what causes it, what are the symptoms, and how can it be treated?

At Ocotillo Sleep Solutions, we can more than just answer these questions for you; we can also provide treatment that turns your restless nights into peaceful, rejuvenating ones. If you would like understand sleep apnea more fully, read the information below.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing while they sleep. These lapses usually last for less than 10 seconds, but they can happen up to 100 times every hour, interrupting the sleep cycle each time. As a result, the person can’t get the regenerative sleep required to function optimally the next day.

When breathing ceases, the body panics, causing a spike in blood pressure. Then, the body partially wakes up in order to restore normal respiration. Heightened blood pressure can linger even after the person recovers normal breathing and is awake, drastically increasing their risk for heart attack and stroke. Additionally, most people do not remember their apnea episodes in the morning, which is why they don’t realize that sleep apnea is to blame.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The two main kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, have different causes and are therefore treated in different ways.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is by far the most common type, occurring when the soft tissues in the throat relax too much and blocks the airway. Large tonsils or adenoids, a stuffy nose on a constant basis, and a thick neck can increase your chances of developing OSA. Excessive fatty tissue around the throat, a result of obesity, can make the airway narrower and more easily cut off breathing.

On the other hand, Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a neurological issue. Basically, the brain literally fails to send the signal to breathe to the body. This can be due to various health conditions like heart and kidney failure or stroke. If a person takes certain drugs, particularly opiates, they may experience CSA.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

People with sleep apnea often have some of the following symptoms:

  • Consistent daytime drowsiness
  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Waking up gasping or feeling out of breath
  • Headaches and sore throats particularly in the morning
  • Depression/mood swings
  • Trouble losing weight or weight gain
  • Hypertension
  • Reduced focus/memory
  • Sexual dysfunction

How Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?

Are you worried that you may have sleep apnea? You should immediately consult a doctor. We invite you to fill out our STOP-BANG Assessment so we can evaluate your risk for the disorder. If we believe that you have sleep apnea based on your assessment, you will take an at-home sleep test to monitor your breathing at night. A sleep doctor will then review the results from the test and be able to make an official diagnosis.

If you do, in fact, have sleep apnea, then we can move onto mitigating its impact. Although CPAP therapy is the most popularly prescribed treatment today, many patients find this mask, which is connected to an air pump, extremely uncomfortable due to the machine’s bulk and noise. Dr. Jones offers a more effective alternative for patients with OSA or who are CPAP intolerant.

With a solution called oral appliance therapy, a patient simply wears a small mouthguard to bed. This oral appliance is specially designed to open up the airway. As a result, many patients prefer this approach because it is much more comfortable and easier to use.

Is Snoring More than Just Annoying?

In addition to keeping your partner or roommate awake at night, consistent snoring is probably the most common symptom of sleep apnea. More than a quirk, loud snoring every night shouldn’t be ignored. Although snoring doesn’t always automatically point to sleep apnea, it does indicate that a sleep issue, one that could progress to sleep apnea in the future. Fortunately, an oral appliance can be used to enhance the quality of sleep for both patient and everyone who sleeps around them.

Is Sleep Apnea Therapy Covered By Insurance?

Most medical insurance plans cover sleep apnea therapy either through a CPAP machine or oral appliance therapy. Here at Ocotillo Sleep Solutions, our knowledgeable team would love to help you maximize your medical insurance plan, making your appliance easily fit within your budget.

Start Improving Your Sleep Today

Untreated sleep apnea can have dangerous consequences for your short and long-term well-being, but you have all the resources you need here in Mesa. If you would like to ask us questions about sleep apnea or how you can overcome it, contact Ocotillo Sleep Solutions.