by Fred Dreher
An alarming number of individuals find themselves waking up tired and groggy, even after getting the recommended eight hours of sleep. They find it hard to sleep with their partner due to loud snoring, and often find themselves nudging their partner to wake up because they have noticed their partner has stopped breathing. This could be due to a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One in five adults suffer from this sleep condition, and most have yet to be diagnosed. Oftentimes individuals that have not been diagnosed blame their fatigue and/or headaches on stress, but do not realize that there could be much more happening throughout their night’s sleep that is causing these symptoms and even worse, dangerous health risks.
OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea, and it caused by partial or complete obstruction of the airway. This is typically due to the relaxation of the throat muscles and tongue, which causes a blockage in the airway during sleep. When this event occurs, an individual either resorts to a dangerous level of shallow breathing or worse, no breathing at all. These pauses in breath typically range from 10 to 40 seconds at a time. Some people find themselves having these breathless events a handful of times per hour, while others can stop breathing hundreds of times per hour. Having multiple cessations of breath wreaks havoc on the body and can cause serious health conditions.
OSA is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. The body struggling to breathe can put immense strain on the cardiovascular system, with risk for heart disease, atrial fibrillation or stroke, among other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
There is a convenient home sleep test that individuals can complete in the comfort of their own beds. The test is interpreted by a certified sleep physician. If the test comes back positive for OSA, there is also an exciting option for treatment using a new oral sleep device.
It is specifically custom measured and fabricated for each individual to ensure maximum treatment. By slightly moving the lower jaw forward, the device allows the airway to stay open throughout the night and stops the tongue from falling backwards. This allows a sufficient amount of oxygen to be absorbed throughout the night and means less struggle on the body to breathe.
The holistic office of Fred Dreher, DDS, PC, is located at 410 Rowland St., in Ballston Spa. For a free initial consultation, call 518-885-6185 or visit IntegrativeSleepCenter.com.