Sleep apnea is dangerous and can cause death. It is where a person is unable to get enough oxygen when they are sleeping to keep the body functioning properly. Like all conditions and diseases there are different grades of intensity. The ideal way to grade the severity of the disease is to be tested.
Northridge dentist, Dr. David Shannon, has a small unit that you take home and test yourself. The data is then read at the office and interpreted. This can save you the trouble of going to a sleep center and spending the night on their equipment. This trip to the sleep center is extremely expensive and may not provide better data than the portable unit you use in your own bed.
The medical unit to help control apnea is known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). It is a mask that attaches to a nearby pump that pushes air from the room into the back of your mouth to make sure enough air gets into the lungs to keep you breathing. There are a few daily steps needed to keep it clean and prepare it for use every night. These steps are important or else dry bacteria filled air will be forced into your lungs and it may cause damage or infections. It fits into a small suitcase for travel if you need to leave your home. These necessary care steps and the difficulty in packing up a bulky case are not appealing to many people. Maybe the answer is the dental solution.
A dental devise similar to a retainer can be custom made to hold the jaw in the right position to keep the tongue in its proper position when the patient is asleep so breathing can take place normally. It can be placed in your pocket if you want to go on vacation. We also recommend you brush it with toothpaste when you take it out in the morning. In a short time you catch up on sleep and your blood pressure drops, fatigue disappears and your memory becomes sharp again. It’s a miracle.
If you are asleep, your muscles are relaxed. This goes for the tongue muscles as well. As they relax, they allow the tongue to fall back into the back of the mouth and block the throat. Most of us have heard a person snoring. This is apnea. If the tongue completely blocks the airway, the person will usually jump with a start, snort a few times, possibly wake up, look around and go back to sleep. This can happen anywhere from once and hour to once a minute all night long. They may not even fully wake and therefore, they are not aware of their problem.
Extended over a long period of time this person can develop high blood pressure, increasing their risk for heart attack and stroke. They have extreme fatigue where they can fall asleep any time during the day, even while driving a car and they never seem to ‘catch up’ on their sleep. Their concentration and ability to remember small details is very poor and many times they joke and say they’re having a senior moment. In reality they are having an oxygen deprived brain moment.
If you snore, or if you show any of the above signs, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to come in and have a specific examination for sleep apnea by Dr Shannon who himself uses this appliance and has been satisfied for over five years.