Sleep apnea treatment in Durango, CO

It is estimated that nearly 15 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and unfortunately, about 80% of those cases are undiagnosed. While you may not feel the immediate consequences of sleep apnea, chances are that your significant other has been struggling with your snoring and gasping for air while they attempt to sleep.

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax while you sleep, causing them to collapse and block your airways. This causes you to stop breathing until your brain sends a signal to your body to start the flow of oxygen.

If left untreated, repeatedly stopping the flow of oxygen while you sleep can have serious long-term health consequences. Luckily, Dr. Robison has a solution to treat sleep apnea without the need for a loud and bulky CPAP machine.

Woman resting head on desk due to fatigue

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

While sleep apnea can affect anyone, there are risk factors to look out for that increase your chances of developing the disorder. These include being overweight, male, smoking, postmenopausal women, having a thicker neck or narrowed airway, family history, as well as the use of alcohol and other sedatives.

You or your significant other may recognize symptoms associated with sleep apnea that indicate you should seek help. Symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Events in which you stop breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Morning headache
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing

Being aware of the risk factors and symptoms will help you determine if you should seek help for sleep apnea. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

CPAP Machine

CPAP stands for continuous passive airway pressure. It works by increasing the pressure in your throat to prevent the airway from collapsing. While some people choose to use a CPAP machine to treat OSA, it can be a nuisance. 

A CPAP machine requires that you wear an oxygen mask that’s attached to a console through a tube and it has to be plugged in. A CPAP machine is difficult to travel with and comes with a host of side effects and disadvantages including:

  • Keeping the device clean
  • Difficulty tolerated forced air
  • Dry or stuffy nose
  • Feeling claustrophobic
  • Skin irritation or pressure sores
  • Difficulty falling asleep for you and your sleep partner

The many disadvantages of wearing a CPAP machine may be the reason why 40% of people don’t initiate treatment or they don’t get their medication refilled and stop using the machine altogether. 

Oral Device

The best treatment is the one you follow through with. An oral device is simple and easy to fit into your lifestyle. Best of all, it doesn’t require refilling medication and the maintenance is minimal. 

A customized oral device fits like a retainer and can fit in the palm of your hand. It’s designed to gently bring your jaw forward, which opens up your airway and prevents it from collapsing. It’s effective for treating sleep apnea and snoring, which will reduce emotional distress in the long-run for both you and your sleeping partner.

Surgery

Even though it’s extremely rare, in the most severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the tonsils and excess soft tissue to increase the flow of oxygen. However, other treatment options available before invasive techniques are considered. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with our office by calling (970) 259-5600. During the consultation, you’ll discuss your symptoms and Dr. Robison we’ll examine your mouth and throat to determine if you would benefit from a sleep study. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can begin treatment right away.

Oral appliance for sleep apnea

Get the Sleep You Need

You and your partner don’t have to suffer the consequences of restless nights. Get the help you need at West Dental Implants & Prosthetics by calling (970) 259-5600 or simply fill out the contact form and we’ll get back to you right away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does everyone who snores have sleep apnea?
What are the long-term consequences of untreated sleep apnea?
How is sleep apnea measured?
How can I naturally treat sleep apnea?
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Does everyone who snores have sleep apnea?

Most people who have sleep apnea snore, but not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Like sleep apnea, snoring is caused by the relaxation of the muscles in the back of your throat. The only difference is that with sleep apnea, the muscles also block the airway and cause the loss of oxygen.

What are the long-term consequences of untreated sleep apnea?

Over time, the repeated loss of oxygen caused by sleep apnea can have serious consequences on your health including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Shortened lifespan
  • Alzheimer’s disease

The good news is that with treatment, you can begin to reverse the effects that sleep apnea has had on your health and start enjoying restful nights.

How is sleep apnea measured?

Sleep apnea is measured by severity and can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the number of times your breathing becomes shallow or stops, also called apnea. Mild OSA is characterized by 5 to 15 apneas per hour, moderate is between 15 to 30, and severe means that you experience greater than 30 episodes per hour.

If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, treatment is readily available. Contact our office to schedule an appointment by calling (970) 259-5600. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can start treatment right away.

How can I naturally treat sleep apnea?

There are a variety of ways that you can naturally treat sleep apnea including:

  • Side-sleeping
  • Yoga
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use a humidifier
  • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives
  • Stop smoking

While lifestyle changes may help reduce the symptoms you experience, for the best results, you’ll want to try them in combination with another treatment method such as an oral appliance. Sleep apnea can be dangerous and these lifestyle changes take a while to work. Professional treatment can help immediately.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed with an at-home sleep study or in-office test under the supervision of a physician. An at-home sleep study can be completed in the comfort of your own home. You’ll wear a device that monitors your breathing patterns, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and eye movements. 

Then, a physician will review the information provided by the device to determine if you have sleep apnea. The at-home test is just as effective at diagnosing sleep apnea and requires about 10 minutes of setup.

An in-office sleep study requires that you sleep at the lab where you’ll be supervised by a physician. If you’d rather have a complete picture of your sleeping habits, an in-office test can diagnose a variety of sleep disorders.

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