The term sleep disordered breathing or SDB relates to a group of conditions that cause abnormal respiratory patterns during sleep, inhibiting healthy ventilation. The most common SDP is obstructive sleep apnea. OSA affects the sleep and lives of more than 18 million American adults and children can suffer from it, too. As a dentist serving the 92629 area, Dr. Mark Cruz has helped hundreds of patients enjoy the benefits of restorative sleep.
If you are an OSA sufferer, you replicate a defined cycle many times throughout the night. As your face, neck, and jaw muscles relax into sleep, soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse, blocking natural flow through the pharyngeal airway. Your brain senses that you are not receiving necessary oxygen. It sends a jolt of adrenalin, arousing your body to resume breathing. You snort, choke, or jerk awake, and take a few normal breaths. As you begin to fall back asleep, the cycle starts over, repeatedly interrupting your sleep and that of your housemates.
The cost reaches far beyond the bedroom. Here are some of the economic, social, and health related consequences of untreated SDB:
- Daytime drowsiness and the inability to focus, which can affect performance in school and on the job. Income levels are actually lower, and unemployment rates are higher for those with OSA than for individuals who don't have SDB.
- Increased risk of workplace and vehicle accidents from sleep-deprivation
- Elevated blood pressure
- Higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke
- Impact on metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes
- Headaches and migraines
- Increased usage of medications
That adds up to higher medical bills, lower self-esteem, and a quality of life issue to which you simply can't attach a price tag.
Much progress has been made in the diagnosis of SDB in recent years, but the primary treatment for OSA is still a constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It holds the airway open with a flow of oxygen through a mask worn over the nose and mouth. CPAP works well, but because the device is cumbersome and noisy, patient compliance is low.
Dr. Cruz offers alternatives that are comfortable, discreet, and convenient. He begins with a physical examination and utilizes innovative technologies to screen for OSA. Once diagnosis is confirmed by a physician, Dr. Cruz works with you to develop a sleep improvement plan that fits your lifestyle. It may include an oral appliance that keeps your airway clear by holding the jaw open and slightly forward. This method can be used alone, or in combination with CPAP and other environmental modifications.
If you are ignoring your SDB, you could be paying a high price in health and happiness. Call Dr. Cruz today at (949) 661-1006 for solutions.