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What Does Sleep Apnea Look Like

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What Is A Cpap Device And How Does It Work

A CPAP device is a machine that uses a hose and airtight nosepiece or mask to deliver a steady stream of air as you sleep. The air pressure helps keep your airway open, preventing pauses in breathing.

CPAP technology is constantly being updated and improved, and the new CPAP devices are lighter, quieter, and more comfortable than they used to be. So even if you’ve given up on them in the past, you owe it to yourself to give them a second look.

Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances: Types Uses And How They Work

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    Oral appliances work by keeping your lower jaw and tongue in a forward position. This way, the tongue won’t block your airway even after your airway muscles fully relax while you’re asleep. This means you can breathe easy at night.

    What is an oral appliance? An oral appliance is a device that fits like a retainer and looks like a mouth guard. It supports your jaw and tongue to maintain an open upper airway. Research shows that oral appliances can effectively treat sleep apnea.

    Obstructive sleep apnea describes the interruption of breathing while asleep. OSA affects 22 million Americans, yet most cases go undiagnosed.

    OSA symptoms include:

    But you don’t have to be scared of OSA. Sleep apnea oral appliances offer a simple sleep apnea treatment option. There are over 100 FDA-approved oral appliances.

    In this article, I explain the advantages of oral appliances, and I answer a lot of the most common questions I get about oral appliance therapy. Look at this page as a complete resource for people with questions about oral appliances.

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    How Do Wearables Help With Sleep Apnea Studies And Sleep Centers

    Clinicians can accurately estimate sleep behavior in a sleep center for up to 42 minutes by using smartphones that analyze light, noise, and acceleration, according to a 2013 paper published at the 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare. Manufacturers will continue to add external sensors to consumer wearables that allow them to assess other signals.

    An oximetry probe that measures the oxygen saturation of the wearer’s blood is one of the most promising types of new sleep apnea technology. Continuous monitoring of oxygen saturation combined with pulse rate during sleep provides excellent validation results for this application. However, it also increases the demands of a wearable with respect to battery power, graphics control and signal processing.

    The efficacy of long-term oximetry has already been evaluated for monitoring patients with Sleep Apnea. A 2013 study published at the 13th IEEE International Conference on BioInformatics and BioEngineering combined external oximetry with a built-in microphone to measure respiratory effort and a built-in accelerometer to measure movements. The sensitivity of this technique in classifying obstructive Sleep Apnea was 100 percent with a sensitivity of 85.7 percent.

    How To Treat Sleep Apnea In Infants

    The treatment depends on the severity and type of sleep apnea . For OSA, some infants will need surgery, but most will outgrow it as they get bigger and their upper airway gets larger. Others may need to be treated with oxygen to provide breathing support until they can outgrow it. If the infant is four months of age or less and their sleep pattern is less-predictive, we recommend they wear a nasal cannula at all times. If the infant is older and has established a sleep pattern, then parents can take off the nasal cannula when they’re awake. Other options for treatment include wearing continuous positive airway pressure or in rare and extreme cases, a tracheostomy.

    The treatment ultimately depends on the nature of the medical problem, but the sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.

     

    Learn more about Pediatric Pulmonology at Children’s Mercy and the Sleep Disorder Program, the only pediatric program in the region accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

    To make an appointment with a Sleep Specialist, please call 696-8518.

    Left Untreated Your Health Can Suffer

    Does Mild Sleep Apnea Require Treatment?

    Imagine if you had trouble breathing 30 times an hour while you were awake, causing you to lose your breath, choke and cough. You’d likely rush to your closest emergency room in a panic. For as many as one in 15 people, this is exactly what happens to them while they sleep. The condition is called sleep apnea, and it can lead to a range of serious health issues if left untreated.

    Unfortunately, many cases do go untreated, simply because the person suffering from sleep apnea has no idea they’re dealing with such a serious medical condition.

    “Many of our patients come in because a bed partner or roommate notices snoring and disrupted sleep,” explained Dr. Sreelatha Naik, Geisinger sleep physician. “However, many patients are referred to us by cardiologists and other specialists that recognize some of the effects of sleep apnea, such as heart disease and stroke. Recognizing the symptoms early can help you get treatment before the related health issues go from bad to worse.”

    The common signs of sleep apnea

    Although you may not know you have sleep apnea — since you’re sleeping or nearly sleeping when it happens — there are some clues that you should watch for:

    There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

    What happens if you have sleep apnea?

    Resulting health problems include:

    • ? Arrhythmia, such as AFib or heart flutters
    • ? Heart attack

    Can A Fitbit Show That You Have Sleep Apnea

    Fitbit rolled out something new and exciting this month: A blood oxygen detection feature.

    In general, blood oxygen levels can be used to detect sleep conditions, like sleep apnea, and offer a good analysis of what’s going on with your body while you sleep.

    However, Fitbit’s Estimated Oxygen Variation tool needs a little more explanation.

    What Happens During An Apnea

    To understand what is going on in an apnea, it’s helpful to think of this analogy. Imagine trying to drink a milkshake through a paper soda straw. As you suck in, the weak paper straw collapses, and you don’t get any of the milkshake. This collapsing is similar to what happens to people with OSA, but instead of missing out on a milkshake, they don’t get enough air into their lungs. This does not occur with normal breathing during wakefulness because signals from the brain activate the tongue and the muscles surrounding the airway and stiffen the airway. Therefore, air can flow into the lungs uninterrupted. In other words, normal breathing during wakefulness is like drinking the milkshake through a plastic soda straw.

    When we sleep, there is an increased risk for the airway behind the tongue to collapse with each breath . For most people this collapse does not occur because activation of the muscles surrounding the airway during sleep is still strong enough to prevent any blockage. However, for someone with OSA, the muscles do not respond adequately. Like the paper straw that collapses, the airway collapses and air does not reach the lungs.

    Diagnosing And Treating Sleep Apnea For Better Health

    It’s important to treat sleep apnea, because it can have long-term consequences for your health. While there have been some high-profile deaths linked to sleep apnea—such as with Judge Antonin Scalia —Jun says that the true risk is from damage done over time.

    Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index . The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is classified by severity:

    • Severe obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is greater than 30
    • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 15 and 30
    • Mild obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 5 and 15

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    Whether or not you need treatment for sleep apnea depends on its severity, whether or not you have symptoms such as sleepiness and other health conditions. For example, if you have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor might opt to treat you even for mild sleep apnea. On the other hand, if you have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor might insist on treatment even if you’re not sleepy.

    Not very relaxing, right? Luckily, it’s treatable.

    How Does A Cpap Machine Work

    A CPAP machine, also known as a sleep apnea machine, works by supplying a continuous stream of pressurized air that travels through a CPAP filter and flexible tubing, which connects to the airway via a CPAP mask.

    Wearing your CPAP mask is important because it’s how the machine is able to do its work. Since the relaxed muscles blocking the airway can go limp during sleep, the pressurized air is able to open the airway, allowing the CPAP wearer to breathe without obstruction, so oxygen can be delivered to the lungs.

    When using a CPAP machine, your muscles are no longer blocking the flow of oxygen. As a result, you won’t repeatedly wake up to resume breathing or gasp for air. Ideally, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and energized as you continue with your CPAP therapy, though this isn’t the case for everyone. Whether you notice the results or not, however, treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine will still benefit your overall health.

    How Oral Appliances Treat Bruxism

    Oral appliances not only treat sleep apnea. These oral devices can also cure a root cause of nighttime teeth grinding . Grinding is the body’s natural response when you stop breathing at night . 

    Oral appliances fix the root cause of bruxism — sleep apnea.

    The back and forth motion of grinding wakes you up, allowing you to reopen a collapsed airway. Even though grinding is what saves you, it comes at a cost.

    Grinding slowly destroys your teeth. Also, if you’re grinding, you’re being aroused out of deep sleep because you can’t breathe. This reduces the quality of your sleep. 

    Don’t get me started on the importance of high-quality sleep on your whole-body health!

    Many of the patients I’ve treated with oral appliance therapy are shocked when they stop grinding and clenching. Many misinformed doctors tell them that stress triggered their grinding, but it is often sleep apnea.

    Teeth grinding symptoms that oral appliances may stop include:

    • Worn-down teeth
    • Low-quality sleep
    • Sleep disruption for your bed partner

    If you grind your teeth, your dentist likely prescribed a night guard for you to protect the teeth. I no longer prescribe night guards without first ruling out OSA, since it’s always better to treat the root cause of an ailment than just the symptoms.

    Not only this, but a night guard can make grinding worse by further obstructing the airway. This can lead to more grinding and worse sleep quality.

    Causes Of Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    OSA is usually caused when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the upper airway during sleep. Infants with medical problems like craniofacial syndromes , “floppy” airways due to laryngomalacia or large adenoids and big tissue at the back of their throat are at most risk.

    Central Sleep Apnea

    CSA is rarer. This is when the child’s brain is misfiring and not telling the body to breathe when it should. There are some concerns that children born premature or if the mother smokes during pregnancy that this can increase the risk of central sleep apnea in infants. Central sleep apnea is most commonly idiopathic . It can also be seen in children with neurologic insults .

    Health Benefits Of Using A Cpap Machine

    In addition to treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea and , CPAP therapy helps treat several other health conditions and issues including:

    • Blood Pressure. Studies show that patients with hypertension experienced a decrease in blood pressure while using a CPAP.
    • Heart Disease. A study found that cardiovascular events decreased in those with coronary artery disease as a result of using a CPAP.
    • Depression. CPAP wearers who use their machine nightly for at least seven hours reported feeling less depressed and more alert during the day.
    • Reducing Stroke Risk: Strokes are also associated with sleep apnea. Meta-analyses reported that more than 50% of those who have had a stroke suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea.
    • Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome . A form of sleep-disordered breathing, UARS is the stage between mild snoring and full sleep apnea. When your airway reduces in diameter due to loose tissue, this constriction creates resistance. Air still moves into your lungs but not as easily. You may not experience apnea events where you stop breathing, but your sleep breathing will be heavy and labored. As you work harder to breathe, your brain may compensate by waking you up. Left untreated, UARS almost always develops into Obstructive Sleep Apnea . CPAP therapy is not necessarily the first line of treatment for UARS, but as the condition progresses, it’s often recommended to help keep the airway open.

    Sleep Apnea Causes And Risk Factors

    5 Surprising Facts About Sleep Apnea – Health Essentials ...

    While anyone can have sleep apnea, certain factors increase the risk:

    • Sex – Men are much more likely to have sleep apnea than women, although after menopause, frequency in women increases.
    • Older age – While sleep apnea can occur at any age, it is more common as you get older. According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study, its prevalence peaks when people are in their 50s and 60s and then plateaus.
    • Weight – The risk of sleep apnea is much higher in those who are overweight, and higher still in those who are obese.
    • Anatomical differences – Physical attributes that can contribute to sleep apnea include a small upper airway, a small or receding jaw, a long soft palate, a high tongue position, a deviated septum, and enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
    • Smoking – According to a study conducted by Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, University of Wisconsin, Madison, smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than those who have never smoked.
    • Neck circumference greater than 17 inches in men or 16 inches in women.

    Allergies or other medical conditions that cause nasal congestion and blockage can also contribute to sleep apnea.

    Irritated Or Dry Face Skin

    If your mask is too loose around your nose and face, air can leak out around the sides. The excess air around your nose can make your skin dry, causing it to flake or feel itchy. 

    Adjust the pads and straps around the mask to help keep it on your face even if you move around in the night. Applying a moisturizer before and after you use your CPAP machine can help reduce the effects of dry skin.

    Advantages Of An Oral Appliance

    According to many sleep apnea patients and practitioners, oral appliances have advantages over alternative treatments for sleep apnea.

    Do oral appliances really work for sleep apnea? Yes, oral appliances work for sleep apnea by bringing your jaw and tongue forward, opening up your airway so you can breathe at night.

    What are the advantages of an oral appliance?

  • Oral appliances are far more comfortable than wearing a mask, like that of a CPAP machine.
  • They are portable, so you can take them with you while traveling.
  • You can talk and drink water while wearing an oral appliance.
  • An oral appliance may help you avoid surgery by addressing one of the major root causes of sleep-disordered breathing.
  • In the same way a doorstop props open a door, an oral appliance props open the airway during sleep. This is why oral appliance therapy can work great on its own or with a CPAP machine.

    Oral appliance therapy has clear advantages over CPAP therapy.

    CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP works by creating a continuous stream of air pressure that allows individuals with sleep disorders to breathe at night.

    However, the continuous pressure makes it difficult for some to exhale. And even custom-fit CPAP masks can be uncomfortable to wear while you’re asleep. Many sleep apnea patients complain that wearing a mask is embarrassing.

    Alternatives To Cpap Therapy

    Looking for a CPAP alternative? There are quite a few different options available today. However, not all of the alternatives will work for everyone. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular treatments.

  • Oral Appliances. Many of these devices are designed to hold your tongue in place to keep it from sliding backward in your mouth during sleep. Oral appliances, also referred to as mandibular advancement devices, are made by a dentist and help to open up your airway so that air can reach your lungs. For people with very mild sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be an effective treatment. Oral appliances work by keeping the tongue from sliding backward, but if your problem is a narrow airway or that there’s too much soft tissue in your throat, an oral appliance may do you no good.
  • Surgery. In rare cases, your doctor may prescribe surgery to remove excess tissues or improve the geometry of your airway, making it easier to breathe. Surgery is looked at as a last resort and is usually not the first treatment a doctor will recommend.
  • Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator. Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator is the implantation of an electric stimulator on the hypoglossal nerve, which affects and influences tongue movement. This procedure is increasingly common in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and while it has seen success, it does require invasive surgery and should only be considered after common lifestyle-related solutions have been explored.
  • Whats The Difference Between Cpap Apap And Bipap Machines

    Other types of breathing machines include APAP and BiPAP devices. Here’s how they differ:

    • CPAP device. This device is programmed to produce pressurized air at one steady air pressure level. To change the air pressure, you have to reset the device’s settings.
    • APAP machine. This kind checks your breathing throughout the night. It automatically adjusts the air pressure to compensate for changes in your sleep position or medications that may have changed your breathing.
    • BiPAP . This device has two pressure settings, one pressure for inhaling and a lower pressure for exhaling. It’s used for individuals who can’t tolerate CPAP machines or have elevated carbon dioxide levels in their blood. BiPAP devices can also come with a backup respiratory rate for patients who have central sleep apnea. The backup respiratory rate ensures the person breathes, as the main problem with central sleep apnea is initiating breath.

    As with many types of treatments, there are benefits and drawbacks associated with the use of a CPAP machine. Here are a few of the known pros and cons.

    Cpap Machine Side Effects

    Although CPAP machines can improve your quality of sleep and can offset the health risks associated with poor sleep, using a CPAP machine can also have negative side effects. 

    One of the most common issues with using a CPAP machine is finding one that fits well and then adapting to using it. It can take a while to get used to sleeping with a CPAP machine because of the mask and the incoming airflow. It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider if you find that your device is uncomfortable to wear.

    One of the most common issues with using a CPAP machine is finding one that fits well and then adapting to using it.

    The most common CPAP machine side effects include dry nose or mouth, difficulty falling asleep, more frequent awakenings, blocked nose, irritated or dry skin, mask pressure, or mask leakage. Keep reading to learn how to avoid these uncomfortable side effects.

    How Common Is Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect between 2-9% of adults in the United States, but many cases are believed to go undiagnosed, which fits with studies that have found considerably higher rates of OSA. Precise prevalence is hard to determine because studies have used different criteria for diagnosing the condition. A consistent finding, though, is that OSA affects men more than women. It can occur in people of any age but is more common in older adults.

    Central sleep apnea has been found to affect around .9% of adults over the age of 40. It is found much more frequently in men than in women.

    As this data demonstrates, OSA is much more common than CSA. For this reason, when people talk about “sleep apnea,” they are generally referring to OSA.

    What Happens When The Airway Is Blocked Or Partially Blocked

    When sufficient air doesn’t get into a person’s lungs, the level of oxygen in the blood falls and the level of carbon dioxide rises. After a few minutes of not breathing, a person may die. Fortunately, with OSA, after a period of not breathing, the brain wakes up, and breathing resumes. This period of time can range from a few seconds to over a minute. When breathing resumes, the size of the airway remains reduced in size. The tissues surrounding this narrow airway vibrate—what we call snoring. In other words, snoring is a sign of an obstructed airway, but it does mean that a person is breathing; silence might indicate that the airway is completely blocked.

    What Is Sleep Apnoea

    Sleep Apnea: A Sleeping Disorder

    Sleep apnoea, or obstructive sleep apnoea, happens when a person’s throat is partly or completely blocked while they are asleep, causing them to stop breathing.

    Their breathing can stop for anywhere between a few and 90 seconds, and they wake briefly. These episodes, which can happen many times a night, are known as apnoeas. The sufferer is often unaware of it happening, but will wake feeling tired.

    Sleep apnoea ranges from mild to severe. In severe cases, sleep can be interrupted hundreds of times each night.

    Sleep apnoea can affect anyone, but is more common in people who are middle aged or older, who snore, who are above a healthy weight and who have sleep apnoea in the family.

    People with naturally narrow throats or nasal passages, and children with enlarged tonsils or , can also have sleep apnoea.

    What Is A Cpap Machine

    Sleep is critical for living a healthy and balanced life. In fact, it’s impossible to survive without sleep and having disordered sleep creates a risk of developing serious health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Sometimes sleep is disrupted temporarily by stress, a change in environment, or a change in routine. In these cases, we can often get our back on track with simple lifestyle changes. Other times, sleep disruption is caused by health conditions that need to be treated, such as sleep apnea.

    What does a CPAP machine do? A CPAP machine provides Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, which is a common treatment protocol for people who experience obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when someone periodically stops breathing during sleep, which happens when your upper airways collapse partially or completely. A common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive, loud snoring or startling yourself awake by gasping for air.

    You might be wondering how a CPAP machine works. A CPAP machine provides continuous airflow and positive pressure in the airways while you sleep. The CPAP system includes a machine that generates airflow and pressure, a mask that you wear over the nose or nose and mouth, and tubing that connects the mask and the machine. The CPAP machine relies on a power source to keep the air flowing, either from a battery or electrical outlet.

    What Are The Differences Between Cpap Bipap And Apap Machines

    As you browse through various sleep apnea machines online, you’ll likely come across three different types of machines. Ultimately, your sleep technician or doctor will work with you to decide what machine is best for you.

    Watch our video explaining the differences between the three types of machines.


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