Sleep Apnea treatment in Chula Vista

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that makes it difficult to breath normally during sleep. There are a varying degrees of sleep apnea, however many of those with sleep apnea moments during the night when breathing slows or stops momentarily.

The most common (and noticeable) symptoms are snoring and restlessness. However, other symptoms and more serious complications can develop over time, including cardiovascular disease. There are also interpersonal relationships to consider; those suffering from sleep apnea sometimes find that restless nights experience over a long period of time can take a toll on marriages, employers, family, and friends.

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Three types of sleep apnea

There are three main types of sleep apnea, the most common of which is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea happens when there is a physical obstruction in the throat that limits airflow. For most, the cause of this is muscles of the throat, including your tongue, relaxing too much during sleep. Your airway narrows, which can cause snoring – and sometimes stops breathing entirely.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is the second type of sleep apnea, and is much less common. CSA sleep apnea is caused by the brain rather than a physical obstruction. In essence, the brain stops sending regular signals to your lungs to breathe. This cause your breathing to gradually slow, up until the point it stops.

It’s not uncommon for eople with CSA sleep apnea to experience multiple cycles of this a night. In other words, breathing slows, stops, you wake up. Later, you fall asleep and the process begins again. The last type of sleep apnea is called complex sleep apnea – and it’s a combination of both OSA and CSA.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea are the same no matter which type you have, which can make an exact diagnosis tricky. Each of these symptoms can have multiple causes, and no single symptom should be taken as conclusive proof that you’re suffering from sleep apnea. However, when multiple symptoms show up together, your healthcare provider may order a sleep test to determine whether or not sleep apnea is the proper diagnosis. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
  • Really loud snoring. Snoring ranges from barely audible to barely tolerable. When snoring is especially loud, it can be a sign that a person’s breathing is severely obstructed. While some people can tell that they’ve been snoring, this isn’t always the case. Your partner is likely the first to realize that snoring has change in frequency and volume.
  • Breathing is fitful or stops during sleep. Sufferers of sleep apnea may find themselves gasping for breath during the night. This happens when the airway becomes so constricted that not enough oxygen is taken in. This gets a lot scarier (usually for your partner) when breathing stops altogether. Believe it or not, this can be difficult to detect when it’s happening to you. In fact, it’s most often this is reported by a partner.
  • Frequent headaches upon waking. Most headaches are cured with time and sleep. Regular headaches experienced when you first wake up is usually a good indicator that something else is going on. Headaches have a variety of causes, so try and pay attention to what the cause of yours seems to be. If sleep itself seems to be the cause (as opposed to tension, dehydration, or some other issue) sleep apnea may be the culprit.
  • Dry mouth upon waking. It’s normal to wake up thirsty, particularly if you’ve slept through the night. However, poor breathing during sleep can cause excessive dry mouth and feeling dehydrated.
  • Insomnia. As with headaches, paying attention to the root cause is important here. Those with insomnia usually have trouble falling asleep. However, those with sleep apnea most often have trouble staying asleep. While the net effect is the same, disruptions due to difficulty breathing can cause the latter.
  • Hypersomnia. Otherwise known as daytime sleepiness, hypersomnia can be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep at night. After all, long nights mean longer days. While not all daytime drowsiness is caused by sleep apnea, it can be a sign, particularly when the drowsiness is due to poor quality sleep caused by multiple disruptions. Difficulty paying attention while awake and irritability are additional, related symptoms to be on the lookout for.
symptoms of sleep apnea near you

Health conditions associated with sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is common, and often symptoms – which irksome – go ignored or overlooked. However, left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious long-term health concerns. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increased risk of strokes
  • Liver problems

These are all serious health issues caused, at least in part, by chronic poor sleep over a prolonged period of time. Sleep apnea is also known to cause excessive snoring, moodiness, and fatigue – all of which can play havoc on your interpersonal relationships.

Am I at risk for sleep apnea?

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea; however, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood you’ll experience sleep apnea. These include (but aren’t limited to) being male, being older, and carrying excess weight.

When should I see a sleep apnea specialist?

If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, the best time to seek treatment is now. Health complications with sleep apnea don’t appear overnight. However, they can creep up on you if left unchecked. We all need good, restful sleep to restore our bodies and stay healthy. Sleep apnea can rob us of this. Over the long-term, sleep apnea can create and compound other health issues. Don’t put it off – sleep apnea puts a serious – and largely avoidable – strain on your health, personal relationships, and overall quality of life.
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Sleep apnea treatments and appliances

You may have heard of the CPAP machine. This is the most common and well known treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Worn at night, these machines prevent a patient’s airways from collapsing by creating a gentle pressure inside the throat.

A common sleep apnea appliance is known as a mandibular advancement device (MAD). These appliances are designed to reposition the jaw and tongue during sleep to prevent your airways from closing. MADs look and operate similar to a mouth guard. Other appliances designed to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea include the TAP 3 Elite, Herbst, and EMA. All these appliances are less intrusive than CPAP machines, making them attractive for those who aren’t willing to sleep with a CPAP machine There are also treatments that don’t require a CPAP machine or dental appliance at all. Sleep apnea can
and has been successfully treated by changing up sleep positions, reducing alcohol consumption, orofacial therapy, and surgery.

Am I at risk for sleep apnea?

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea; however, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood you’ll experience sleep apnea. These include (but aren’t limited to) being male, being older, and carrying excess weight.
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Schedule a consultation for sleep apnea in Chula Vista, CA

Some sleep apnea cases are more challenging to address than others. Our doctors have experience treating even the most difficult cases with expertise and quality sleep apnea appliances.

You and your loved ones deserve a great, comfortable night’s sleep. We can help.