Sleep Apnea in Bridgeton, MO
- Do you wake up feeling like you’ve barely slept at all?
- Do you find yourself dozing off during the day?
- Do you wake up with a sore throat or suffer from frequent headaches or mood swings?
- Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night gasping for air?
- Does your partner complain about your snoring?
These are all signs and symptoms of a serious medical condition called sleep apnea (the word “apnea” literally means “without breath”). If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, causing your brain to wake you up slightly so that you can resume breathing.
Not only does the condition disturb your rest and prevent you from getting the deep sleep your body needs to restore itself, sleep apnea can lead to multiple complications throughout your body including higher levels of anxiety and high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
Approximately 12 million people in the United States have sleep apnea according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Men are more likely to have the condition than women, and it’s more likely to develop in middle age. A number of factors can significantly increase your risk of developing sleep apnea, including smoking and being overweight or obese.
Many people have sleep apnea and don’t even realize it. They only know that they are miserable – fatigued and headachy. Because of excessive drowsiness throughout the day, their productivity at work may suffer, and driving may become dangerous since they are more likely to doze off. Their personal relationships may also be troubled thanks to the loud snoring and gasping at night commonly associated with sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea
A number of treatment options are available for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. One successful treatment option that is usually tried first is therapy with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. Patients who are treated with CPAP wear a mask while sleeping that is connected to a machine that blows air through the mask and into the patient’s airway, keeping it open throughout the night.
While CPAP is quite effective for the patients who can tolerate it, this therapy does have a number of drawbacks. The mask can be uncomfortable and the machine is loud, sometimes disturbing the patient and his or her partner. Additionally, for patients with an active lifestyle who enjoy traveling, vacationing, and camping, CPAP presents a further problem. The machine can be bulky to carry as luggage, and an electrical source may not be available to power the machine, leaving patients without the therapy they need for a good night’s sleep.
For the approximately 50% of sleep apnea patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy, Bridgeton dentist Dr. Kevin Burgdorf has another solution – oral appliances. Dr. Burgdorf works closely with his mentor, Dr. Thomas Gotsis, who has many years of experience treating sleep apnea with oral appliances.
Working together, these skilled dentists are able to give patients alternatives to bulky, restrictive CPAP machines, guiding them through the process of getting a sleep study to diagnose their condition, and then prescribing appropriate treatment.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or if you have any of the symptoms or risk factors associated with the condition, call our office today to learn more about your options.