Learn More About Sleep Apnea & Treatments Available in Skokie
Sleep apnea is a disorder where a patient temporarily stops breathing throughout the night. It can happen hundreds of times, and it can cause a multitude of both short and long-term problems. Despite the massive stress it puts on the body, many patients can sleep right through it. There are two main types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when a patient’s brain simply stops sending the signals to the body to breathe at night. The more common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), happens when a patient’s airway becomes blocked by tissues in the throat or their tongue. Many patients even suffer from a combination of the two. Both forms have a wide variety of symptoms, which is why most cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years (about 80% actually). There are a few common signs, however, and they are:
- Consistent loud snoring
- Waking up suddenly gasping for air
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Persistent daytime fatigue
- Trouble focusing throughout the day
- Memory loss
- Mood swings/depression
We Can Help Diagnose and Treat Your Sleep Apnea
The first step to treating sleep apnea is to get a proper diagnosis to determine if a person actually has the condition. Sleep Better Chicagoland recommends that people who think they may be suffering from the disorder take our short but effective STOP-BANG Assessment. It only involves 8 yes or no questions and provides us vital information. Using the assessment, we’ll be able to recommend the next step in the process, which may involve visiting a sleep clinic to have a sleep study performed. After that, we can almost immediately help you get the treatment you need.
For patients suffering from OSA, we’ll be able to use an approach called oral appliance therapy. This is the primary solution recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for both snoring and OSA. If a patient has more severe OSA or CSA, CPAP therapy or combined therapy (CPAP with an oral appliance) can provide the solution they need.
Sleep Apnea Facts
- If an adult gets 7-8 hours of sleep each night, they should not feel tired or fatigued throughout the day.
- Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to be obese, have trouble losing weight, and struggle to keep it off once it has been lost.
- Sleep apnea and sleep deprivation can hinder the memory just like alcoholism, drug addiction, and even Alzheimer’s.
- Many patients who believe they can’t stay asleep due to insomnia are actually being awoken by the breathing interruptions related to sleep apnea.
- Snoring is the most common symptom associated with sleep apnea. Even if you have not been diagnosed, snoring still puts you at a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder in the future. With oral appliance therapy, you can treat your snoring and avoid future health risks such as cardiovascular problems, acid reflux, stroke, depression, and other cognitive disorders.
- Driving tired is actually more dangerous than driving drunk! People who are regularly sleep deprived are 15 times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident than someone who is rested and sober.
- Almost 80% of everyone suffering with sleep apnea is either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This sadly means most people with the disorder are going untreated.
- Untreated sleep apnea can have a dramatic effect on a person’s overall lifespan. In fact, most patients with completely untreated sleep apnea do not live past 55 years of age.
- Sleep apnea is actually one of the most common causes of sexual and erectile dysfunction.
- If you get up frequently during the night to go to the bathroom, it could also be a symptom of undiagnosed sleep apnea.
- Teeth grinding, or bruxism, could also be an indicator of sleep apnea.
- A patient with a large tongue or thick neck is at a greater risk of developing sleep apnea.
Snoring Is More than Just Annoying
Loud, consistent snoring is one of the most prominent symptoms of sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the air we breathe causes the tissues in the throat to vibrate. This is the same way sounds like speech, laughter, and singing are created. While snoring does not always indicate that a person has sleep apnea, it does often mean they are not getting the most restful sleep they can because their breathing is being constricted. This obstruction can actually lead to health risks on its own such as elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and several other mental/physical problems.
Fortunately, snoring treatments are available usingoral appliance therapy. It is an easy way to help alleviate a very common problem, and it is especially useful for people who snore and have a bed partner.
Our CPAP Alternative
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the most common recommended treatment for a person suffering from sleep apnea. While it is ideal for patients with severe OSA symptoms and CSA, it can cause many problems for those with mild sleep apnea. The machine works by forcing air into the throat throughout the night using an air pump, and this is often very uncomfortable for patients. It requires them to wear a full facemask, and this is very constricting and even makes some patients feel claustrophobic. Also, the noise generated by the machine can make it very difficult for a person to fall asleep as well. These problems are why about 50% of people prescribed to use a CPAP stop within the first year.
Thankfully, Dr. David Schwartz and our team at Sleep Better Chicagoland have an effective alternative: oral appliance therapy. Our oral appliances are custom made for each patient so they offer the best in both comfort and treatment. They are small, easy to use, and have been shown to dramatically increase the sleep quality of those who wear them consistently.
Will My Insurance Cover This?
Often, a patient will be able to use their medical insurance to help pay for their sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy. In recent years, this kind of coverage has also become part of many dental insurance plans. Our team will always work directly with your provider (including Medicare) to help you get the most out of your coverage. We’ll even file your claim for you! If you have any questions about how you can use your insurance with us, be sure to contact our Skokie, IL office today. We’re also able to serve patients in the Evanston, Chicago, Wilmette, and Cook County area.