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  • Writer's pictureDr. Eskender Beyene, MD Sleep

Could You Be Among the Millions with Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea?

Updated: Jan 24

It's a silent epidemic affecting millions, yet it often goes unnoticed in the quiet of the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that pauses your breath while you sleep, and it's far more common than you might think. In the United States alone, an estimated 18 million people have OSA, but shockingly, only 20% have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment.

The Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

OSA isn't just about disruptive snoring; it's a serious sleep disorder with potentially severe health consequences. When soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, it blocks the airway, leading to temporary breathing pauses. These interruptions can have a ripple effect on your health, contributing to:

· Daytime Fatigue: Affecting your productivity and daily activities.

· Cardiovascular Disease: Increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

· Accidents: Leading to a higher chance of motor vehicle and workplace incidents.

· Type II Diabetes: Affecting your body's ability to use insulin effectively.

· Hypertension: Contributing to high blood pressure.

· Quality of Life: Overall reduction in your well-being and health.

Are You at Risk?

Several factors can increase your risk of OSA, including excess weight, a large neck circumference, a narrowed airway, gender, family history, and lifestyle habits like smoking.

Recognizing the Symptoms

OSA can be stealthy, but there are signs to watch for:

· Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Struggling to stay awake during the day.

· Loud Snoring: Especially with silent pauses in breathing.

· Nighttime Awakenings: With choking or shortness of breath.

· Morning Headaches: Often a sign of reduced oxygen levels.

· Dry Mouth Upon Waking: Indicative of breathing through the mouth.

The Path to Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you might have OSA, it's crucial to get a referral from your primary care physician to a sleep center. Proper diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your health and may reduce the severity of related conditions.

Exploring Treatment Options

While CPAP therapy has been the standard treatment for OSA, it's not the only option. For those who struggle with CPAP, alternatives include:

· Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss and exercise can reduce symptoms.

· Oral Appliances: Custom-made devices that adjust the position of the jaw to keep the airway open.

· Surgery: For structural issues contributing to OSA.

· Inspire Therapy: An implantable neurostimulation technology for those who haven't found success with CPAP.

The Role of Oral Appliances

For patients with primary snoring or mild to moderate OSA, a custom-made oral appliance may be the answer. These FDA-approved devices can be tailored to your needs, often in conjunction with CPAP therapy. The creation of these appliances is a collaborative effort between sleep centers and trained dentists, ensuring a perfect fit and maximum effectiveness.

Don't Let Sleep Apnea Go Untreated

Ignoring sleep apnea can have a profound impact on your health. With modern treatments and technologies, there's no reason to suffer in silence. Take charge of your sleep, take charge of your health, and speak to a sleep specialist today.

At Metro Sleep Center, we're committed to helping you find the sleep solutions you need for a healthier, happier life. Contact us to explore your options and start your journey to better sleep.

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