Sleep Apnea is a life-treating illness that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. It occurs when breathing stops for 10 seconds or more while an individual is sleeping. “Apnea” means “without breath” in Greek. Apneas can last from 10 seconds to a minute longer and can occur hundreds of times per night.
Signs of Sleep Apnea:
- Snoring that may disrupt the sleep of others
- Gasping, coughing or choking upon awakening
- Waking up with your heart racing
- Waking up tired after a full night’s sleep
- Waking up with a headache
- Feeling tired during the day
- Falling asleep without intention
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Feeling irritable, short-tempered
- Weight gain
- Acid reflux in adults
- ADHD and/or bedwetting in children
Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious problems: it has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even death.
In children, sleep disordered breathing can lead to:
- Delayed growth
- Poor neurological development
- Crowding of teeth
- Prolonged thumb sucking/ pacifier use
There are various treatment options available for both adults and children.
Treatment for Adults
The first step is to use our home sleep test to evaluate how you sleep in your own bed. For mild to moderate apnea, snoring, or those who are unable or unwilling to wear a CPAP machine, we offer oral appliance therapy. This is a mouthguard worn during sleep that holds the lower jaw forward and protects the airway.
Treatment for Children
Sleep disordered breathing in children can lead to various developmental problems. Research estimates that over 50% of all children with ADHD suffer from nighttime breathing disorders. To treat these disorders, we can oftentimes use cutting edge orthodontic techniques to stabilize a child’s airway, without the need for a CPAP machine. When successful, this can help protect their airway for decades.
Feel free to speak with Dr. Austin Westover if you are at all concerned that you or your child may suffer from sleep apnea!