Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA for short, is a condition where the patient has breathing issues while they are asleep, which leads to them having interrupted sleeping sessions and loud snoring.
Proper obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment are required to handle the problems that OSA brings into your life. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about Obstructive sleep apnea, the diagnosis process, and available treatments.
So, let’s get right into it!
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders to date. This disorder occurs when the upper airway becomes partially or totally blocked when we are sleeping, which leads to interrupted breathing during our sleep.
In an episode of OSA, to open the blocked airway, the chest muscles and diaphragm work overtime. This creates a decrease in overall oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the blood.
To respond to this drop in oxygen levels, the body may partially or fully awaken from sleep. These awakenings can disrupt the sleep cycle and mood swings and lead to symptoms such as body fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Reasons Behind Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The following factors are known to trigger OSA among people −
One of the primary reasons behind OSA is obesity. The extra weight on the body can put pressure on the airways, making breathing more difficult during sleep, resulting in suffering from OSA.
If your family history consists of individuals suffering from OSA, then you might inherit this condition through genetics. There can be some people who may have a genetic predisposition to OSA.
It has shown in studies that there are certain genetic mutations can increase the risk of developing the condition.
As people age, their risk of developing OSA increases, especially if their health starts to decline. This is due to changes in the body structure and function of the airways, as well as changes in overall health.
Obstructive sleep apnea studies have shown that men are more likely to develop OSA compared to women. There are quite a few factors that lead to this conclusion.
Some of the most common ones are body fat distribution and hormonal differences.
Smoking, Alcohol, and Use of Sedative Medications
Smoking can increase the risk of OSA by causing inflammation and narrowing of the airways, while alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles of the airway, which makes it more difficult to breathe when someone is asleep.
Body’s Structural Issues
The body’s structural issues, like nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, or adenoids, can obstruct the airways during sleep, making it more difficult to breathe.
People diagnosed with diabetes are at increased risk of developing OSA, and vice versa. This may be due to the effects of diabetes on the nervous system and blood vessels.
Sleeping on the back can increase the risk of OSA, as it can cause the tongue and soft tissues in the throat to fall back and obstruct the airways.
Please note that sleep apnea in adults is easy to determine, but diagnosing OSA for children, is a completely different difficulty as the signs are hard to find.
Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When it comes to OSA, it can have a range of signs and symptoms. The severity can vary from mild to severe depending on a few factors, and some people may experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.
The obstructive sleep apnea symptoms are as follows:
One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is snoring. For people suffering from OSA, this is often loud and disruptive.
They may snore intermittently or continuously throughout the night and can be so loud enough to disrupt their partner’s sleep as well.
Gasping or Choking While Asleep
Gasping or choking for air when a person is asleep is also a mark of obstructive sleep apnea. This usually happens when the airway is completely blocked, which results in the person being unable to breathe for 5 to 10 seconds.
So, in order to breathe, the person then gasps for air.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
There are two types of sleep: light sleep and heavy sleep. People with OSA experience the first one most of the time.
For this reason, even after a complete 8-hour sleep night, they can feel sleepy the day after. It can be quite hard for them to stay awake while sitting or driving.
Sudden episodes of sleepiness are also part of this sign.
As OSA disrupts normal sleeping patterns, it will lead to irritability, concentration difficulty, and sudden mood swings.
Headaches after Waking Up
Due to the drop in oxygen levels during their sleep, most OSA-affected people will wake up with a mild to severe headache.
Dry Mouth or Sore Throat
People with OSA may wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat. This is mainly because they were breathing through their mouth while they were asleep and not through their nose.
High Blood Pressure
Those with moderate to severe OSA often suffer from high BP, which can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and strokes.
Now do keep in mind that the mentioned signs are associated with everyone with OSA. Some people may show all the symptoms, while others may show only a few of them. There can also be cases where OSA patients didn’t show any of the symptoms listed here.
Should You Get Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), seeking medical advice and considering getting diagnosed is important.
OSA can have serious health consequences if left untreated that’s why to get in touch with a sleep specialist as soon as possible.
You can expect the following patterns from our doctors for your OSA diagnosis −
Our doctors will ask about your symptoms and medical history, including any previous diagnosis of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, family history of sleep apnea, and any medications you are taking that may affect your sleep.
After the initial checkup, you would be suggested for a physical examination so that we can gain more information about your condition. All of our examination centers are affiliated with URBN Dental, a well-known name in the dental field. The locations of our treatment and sleep centers can be found here.
Next, we will move into a sleep study, this will involve spending a night in a sleep laboratory, or you can opt for home sleep apnea testing as well. This test will monitor your breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vital signs while you sleep.
The sleep study results are analyzed by a sleep specialist who will determine the frequency and severity of your breathing disturbances, as well as any other sleep disorders that may be present.
In your sleep study, if you experience 5 or more episodes of apnea (complete cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer) or hypopnea (partial blockage of airflow resulting in reduced oxygen levels) per hour of sleep, you may be diagnosed with OSA.
The severity of OSA is typically classified based on the number of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep, as follows−
- Mild Sleep Apnea: 5 to 14 events per hour
- Moderate Sleep Apnea: 15 to 29 events per hour
- Severe Sleep Apnea: 30 or more events per hour
Overall, the diagnosis of OSA involves a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, medical history, and sleep patterns to determine the underlying cause of your sleep-related breathing disorders and the best course of treatment options.
What Can Happen Without Proper Treatment?
OSA is a serious medical condition that can have significant health consequences if left untreated. The following dangers can occur in that case.
Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
High blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure all can occur chronologically if OSA is not treated properly.
Repeated breathing interruptions can trigger fluctuations in blood oxygen levels and increase stress on the cardiovascular system of our body.
Increased Chance of Type 2 Diabetes
As disrupted sleep patterns can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, the chance of getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes becomes extremely high.
Contribution to Obesity
Fragmented sleep patterns can also disrupt the hormones which regulate hunger and satiety, leading to increased food intake, which means you will start to get more weight as time passes unless you follow a very strict diet.
OSA can affect cognitive function, memory, and attention, leading to daytime drowsiness and a decrease in productivity.
OSA can cause sleep deprivation, which can lead to a host of health problems, including fatigue, mood changes, and a weakened immune system.
Excessive daytime sleepiness can also increase the risk of accidents while driving or operating machinery.
Depression and Anxiety
Studies have shown that most people with OSA develop depression and anxiety due to their interrupted sleep patterns.
Common OSA Treatments
There are several treatment options available for obstructive sleep apnea, but the choice of treatment will depend on the severity of your OSA, your individual preferences, and the underlying cause of your breathing disturbances.
You should always consult your doctor before you pick a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea hypopnoea. Here are the common OSA treatments that you can opt for depending on your severity.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is the most common treatment when it comes to treating OSA. The patient is required to use the CPAP device every time they are planning to have a sound sleep.
They would need to wear a mask that will provide uninterrupted airflow so the airway can stay open.
BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)
BiPAP is identical to CPAP, but it offers two different levels of air pressure: for inhalation and for exhalation.
In some cases, if the patient has trouble with exhalation, this treatment performs better than CPAP in upper airway stimulation.
Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (AutoPAP)
AutoPAP adjusts the air pressure automatically based on your breathing patterns, which may be more comfortable instead of a fixed pressure.
Oral Appliance Therapy
For those who don’t want to use a separate device every time they go to sleep, oral appliance therapy is the best solution. This treatment involves the use of a custom-made dental device to help keep the airway open during sleep.
Oral appliances change the position of the tongue and jaw (mostly bringing the lower jaw forward) so that there is no complication regarding airflow, which prevents breathing interruptions.
Oral Pressure Therapy
This treatment involves the use of an oral device that delivers air pressure to the oral cavity. The device consists of a mouthpiece that is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth and connected to a small compressor that generates air pressure.
Several surgical procedures can be performed to treat OSA, like nasal surgery, neck surgery, tonsillectomy, maxillomandibular advancement, and others.
Changes in Daily Life
Changing your daily lifestyle pattern to a healthy one can also be a treatment option for OSA.
Losing body fat, stopping having alcohol or any other substances, taking sleep meds and critical care medicine before bedtime, and positioning sleeping can also be treatment options as well.
This involves using specialized devices that encourage you to sleep in a specific position to prevent the airway from collapsing.
Looking for a Better Option?
Suppose you don’t like the common treatment options of OSA, then you are not the only one. The traditional CPAP or surgery doesn’t sit well with most patients.
Plus, the nasal masks can become troublesome to sleep with for both yourself and your bed partner.
What Is Vivos Sleep Apnea Treatment
Vivos Sleep Apnea Treatment is a non-surgical and non-invasive approach to treating obstructive sleep apnea.
The treatment involves using a custom oral appliance: the Vivos System, which will help to reposition the tongue and jaw so that the airways stay open while we sleep.
This treatment uses a mix of DNA testing, 3D modeling, and digital imaging technologies to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
Why Choose Vivos Sleep Disordered Breathing Treatment
Here are the reasons why you should give Vivos Treatment a thought−
- It is a great alternative to common equipment-based OSA treatment options like CPAP and BIPAP
- This treatment offers a non-surgical option to counter their sleep apnea which is great for patients who are unable or unwilling to undergo surgery.
- The treatment plan for patients differs from one individual to other. So, you will get a personalized treatment plan that will help you to fight OSA with much more advantage
- Vivos Sleep Apnea Treatment can help patients get a better night’s sleep, leading to improved daytime function and overall quality of life
- This treatment doesn’t rely on medicine, so you won’t have to worry about maintaining a sleep medicine and pill routine for your OSA.
The Vivos sleep apnea treatment takes a modern approach compared to other traditional OSA treatment options. Book your session now, and we can get started for your personalized Vivos treatment right away!
Without proper obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, the condition will eventually lead a patient to his death. So, if you think you or anyone you know is suffering from this condition, get in touch with a professional as soon as possible.
If you are not ready to physically a sleep center, then contact us for a home sleep apnea test by clicking right here!
Take the fight against sleep apnea in the early stages so that you won’t have to suffer from any negative consequences!