What are Sleep Apneas?
Sleep apneas are serious conditions that should not go untreated. Indeed, they can be fatal. The word “apnea” is derived from the Greek for “without breath.” In severe sleep apnea cases an individual may stop breathing hundreds of times throughout the course of a single night. The bloodstream’s decrease in oxygen and rise in carbon dioxide forces the heart to pump harder and puts tremendous stress on the cardiovascular system. As a result, the risk for heart disease is increased.
Obstructive sleep apnea takes place when air cannot properly flow through a patient’s airway due to muscles, primarily the tongue, collapsing against it and restricting the flow of air to the lungs. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the proper signals to the breathing muscles. Of the two types of sleep apnea, obstructive is far more prevalent and can be addressed by Dr. Patel.
“I was just so tired… all… day… long.”
The goal of treatment for sleep apnea is to maintain unrestricted airflow to the lungs. For years the CPAP machine, with its cumbersome mask, has become synonymous with sleep apnea treatment. However, many patients who have been prescribed a CPAP machine by a physician find it uncomfortable and intrusive and seek alternative treatments like those offered by Dr. Patel.Oral appliance therapy is one such approach. The custom fit Rescue® devices Dr. Patel uses are designed fit in the mouth to prevent the airway blockage that causes apnea to occur. They are also much more comfortable to wear than CPAP.
Finally, there is a surgical option for patients who do not want to wear a facemask or dental device and seek a more permanent solution. The procedure, performed by an oral surgeon, repositions the bone holding the tongue slightly forward. However, before any treatment can be recommended a physician must first make a formal diagnosis of the case and severity of the apnea. Then Dr. Patel will be happy to work with the M.D. for the best course of action.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described it is important to seek medical attention. Dr. Patel is happy discuss your symptoms and treatment options, as well as answer any questions you might have. (630 305-7500