What is Sleep Apnea?
Evanston, IL

Man with sleep apnea snoring at nightObstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where one’s breathing becomes interrupted temporarily but repeatedly during sleep. The pause in one’s breathing usually lasts for least 10 seconds. This happens when the muscles in the back of the throat are unable to keep the airway open in spite of breathing efforts.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Risk factors that increase one’s risk for sleep apnea include:
•  Having a small upper airway or a large tongue, uvula or tonsils
•  Having a receding chin, a large overbite or a small jaw
•  Having a large neck (17 inches or more for men and 16 inches or more for women)
•  Obesity
•  Alcohol and tobacco use

Those who are 40 years old or older are also at an increased risk for sleep apnea. Certain ethnic groups, particularly African-Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific-Islanders, are more susceptible to it than others. Sleep apnea also appears to run in families, leading many to suspect that it is passed down genetically.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

A strong sign of sleep apnea is continual snoring. People with the disorder are often sleep deprived and thus suffer from related problems such as tiredness, difficulty focusing, irritability, depression, problems with memory and learning, and dozing off during the day.

Unless sleep apnea is treated, sleep deprivation and the results above thereof will continue. Sleep apnea can also lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea

If you are showing symptoms such as these and you think you may have sleep apnea, see your doctor right away. For your visit, make sure to bring a record of your sleep patterns, your fatigue levels throughout the day, and any other symptoms you’re experiencing. Also, take an up-to-date list of all the medications you are taking. You may also need to go to a separate center for an overnight sleep study.

The most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that goes over your nose and mouth and gently blows air through your airway so that it stays open while you sleep. If you are given one of these devices, use it specifically the way it is prescribed to you.

We also have other treatment methods for sleep apnea, such as:
•  Oral appliance therapy, which re-positions the tongue and lower jaw
•  A disposable valve that covers the nostrils to cause expiratory positive airway pressure in the nasal region
•  Implanting a stimulator in the patient's chest that is connected to the hypoglossal nerve that controls tongue movement
•  Surgery in the upper airway to remove excess tissue

Preventing Sleep Apnea

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to either avoid sleep apnea or mitigate the symptoms:
•  If you are overweight, losing weight is the best step you can take to eliminate sleep apnea. CPAP treats the condition, but weight loss can cure it in overweight patients.
•  Alcohol causes one to wake up frequently at night and cause the breathing muscles in the upper airway to relax, so you would do well to avoid alcohol.
•  Quit smoking, as cigarette use causes the upper airway to swell, worsening sleep apnea and snoring.
•  Try repositioning yourself when you sleep. Some people with heaving snoring or mild sleep apnea experience fewer breathing problems when they lie on their sides instead of their backs.

For more information, please contact our office at (224) 307-4977.

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2500 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201


(224) 307-4977



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Winning Smile Dental Group | www.winningsmiledentist.com | (224) 307-4977
2500 Ridge Ave Suite 102, Evanston, IL 60201
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Winning Smile Dental Group, 2500 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201 - Tags: Sleep Apnea Evanston IL, dental exams Evanston IL, oral appliance Evanston IL, (224) 307-4977, www.winningsmiledentist.com, 9/15/2020