Does your partner keep you up at night while they snore? Have you ever noticed your partner stop breathing during the night, only to gasp to catch their breath a few seconds later – all while sleeping? It is possible that he or she has obstructive sleep apnea.
The field of adult sleep medicine has linked sleep apnea to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, headaches, and worsening of ADHD.
The first line of defense when it comes to evaluating a patient for sleep apnea is a sleep study with a sleep physician. These studies can determine how severe of a problem the apnea is.
As in children, the cause of sleep apnea can be multifactorial – it could be obesity, a large neck, a small lower jaw, a constriction in the upper airway, or a low tongue posture.
Many patients leave the sleep physician with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to wear while sleeping. This machine is quite effective but tends to be bulky and loud. For many patients there are alternatives.
Next week we’ll discuss treatment options, and how your dentist and/or Norwalk orthodontist and oral surgeon can aid in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.