What is the New Breakthrough for Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

To diagnose sleep apnea, physicians will examine a person’s sleep patterns. The number of apnea episodes recorded during an hour will help determine the severity of the condition. A person with fewer than five episodes per hour is considered to have mild sleep apnea. People with more than fifteen episodes per hour are considered to have severe sleep apnea.

People with this condition are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The condition can lead to sudden death. In severe cases, drops in blood oxygen can trigger seizures. Patients with seizure disorders may become unstable if the condition is not treated. The condition may also cause angina or arrhythmias and can result in a heart attack.

Several lifestyle modifications can reduce the severity of the condition. For example, avoiding caffeine and heavy meals before bed can help reduce the risk of sleep apnea.

Nevertheless, most people with this condition will eventually need sleep apnea treatment in Salt Lake City, UT, to keep the airway open during sleep. One such treatment is continuous positive airflow pressure therapy (CPAP), a device that provides air pressure through an airtight nosepiece while you sleep. The device will prevent pauses in breathing, resulting in better sleep.

A medical exam and a detailed medical history can determine if you have sleep apnea. Some people with the disorder will experience daytime fatigue and crankiness. They may also experience depression and anxiety. Additionally, people with sleep apnea may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

What are the Treatments for Sleep Apnea

CPAP is the primary treatment for sleep apnea. Continuous positive airway pressure is a machine that delivers air pressure to the sleeper’s airway during sleep. This air pressure is significantly greater than surrounding air pressure, which helps prevent sleep apnea and snoring. Although some people find the machine uncomfortable and cumbersome, most people adjust it to their liking and soon find it effective.

However, it is not ideal for everyone, and half of the patients who begin using CPAP do not stick to it for the long term. Non-CPAP treatment options include lifestyle changes and fitted mouthpieces. However, these methods rarely treat moderate to severe sleep apnea. Other sleep apnea solutions you can use include:

  • Inspire upper airway stimulation device

The Inspire upper airway stimulation device is a non-surgical solution to sleep apnea. The device works by sending mild stimulations to the hypoglossal nerve, which prevents the tongue from blocking the airway. The device is well tolerated by most patients and is not painful. However, patients must follow specific guidelines for the use of the device.

The Inspire upper airway stimulation device activates a physiological response in the subject, making breathing easier and reducing sleep disturbances. Patients who have failed conservative treatments are typical candidates for this treatment.

  • Pacing of the hypoglossal nerve in the neck

Pacing the hypoglossal neural pathway in the neck may improve sleep quality for people with sleep apnea. This surgery is similar to an implantable pacemaker and involves the placement of an electrical cuff around the hypoglossal nerve. The electrical stimulation causes the tongue to move forward and open the airway.

It requires a thorough knowledge of neck anatomy and a thorough knowledge of hypoglossal nerve branches. This nerve innervates the musculature of the tongue, including the branches that retract and protrude the tongue. The procedure consists of several steps: anesthesia, sleep study, and hypoglossal nerve stimulation.

  • Oral appliances

Oral appliances can help address the causes of sleep apnea. These appliances can be used to help people breathe properly and can also improve the overall quality of their sleep.

Your dentist will create an oral appliance based on your needs. A follow-up appointment is usually needed to ensure you are adjusting to the device.

What About Surgery?

Oral surgery can be done if all these other treatments fail. The primary purpose of oral surgery is to reduce tissues and open the airways, making it easy to breathe while sleeping.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Warm Family Dentistry for more information about sleep apnea and how you can manage it.