SDB (Sleep disordered breathing) is a group of medical conditions that are characterized by abnormalities in the quality or pattern of respiratory activity. These include snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, and OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).
All of these conditions involve restriction of the airway. With snoring and upper respiratory resistance syndrome, the airway is partially blocked, and the sympathetic nervous system is still functioning properly. It is important to address these conditions before they become apnea, which can have much more serious consequences.
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing, known as apneic events. During these events, the blood oxygen level drops, triggering sympathetic nervous system activity. Often called the "fight or flight response," this system is responsible for releasing adrenalin, raising blood pressure, and increasing heart rate. The patient rarely awakens fully during these events, and therefore is not consciously aware that breathing stopped. However, he or she experiences the same physiological effects that accompany panic, resulting in fragmented sleep.
Dr. Mark A. Cruz, of Laguna Niguel has extensive training in the screening and management of sleep disordered breathing, using a multidisciplinary approach. He can see signs such as facio-skeletal development, excess tissue, mouth breathing, tongue posture, and specific types of tooth wear. A dentist or physician without specific knowledge of apnea could easily miss the red flags, treating only the symptoms.
Rather than relying on guesswork, when Dr. Cruz detects signs of apnea or related conditions, he uses a high-resolution pulse oximetry screening. It provides objective, detailed, accurate data, which is used to assess the patient's risk factor. If the screening returns a positive result, he will review possible management strategies and recommend a consult to help attain a diagnosis.
Several treatment options are available, depending on the nature and severity of the sleep disordered breathing, as well as the patient's personal preferences. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on what is best for each individual. Dr. Cruz believes that accurate, early diagnosis and cooperation among healthcare providers are essential for patient health and wellbeing.
If you feel tired in the mornings, snore heavily, or you are concerned about sleep disordered breathing, call (949) 661-1006 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Cruz today.