What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, stopping airflow. The oxygen level drops and the brain moves out of deep sleep. The person partially awakens and begins breathing again, often with a loud gasp. This process is repeated over and over throughout the night with each apnea lasting from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.

What are the effects?

This can lead to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation, with oxygen levels falling as much as 40 percent or more in severe cases. OSA sufferers stop breathing and are deprived of oxygen hundreds of times a night. Not only does OSA prevent the sufferer from achieving deep, restful sleep, it can put a tremendous strain on the heart and the body, greatly reducing the lifespan of the sufferer. This is a serious medical condition requiring diagnosis by a doctor.

Symptoms

  •          Excessive daytime sleepiness
  •          Loud, disruptive snoring
  •          Difficulty falling asleep
  •          Frequent awakenings
  •          Difficulty concentrating
  •          Depression or irritability
  •          High blood pressure and snoring
  •          Headaches
  •          Frequent napping

How is OSA Diagnosed?

Dentists and Primary Care Physicians together can diagnose sleep apnea based on medical histories, a physical exam, and your sleep study results. Your doctor should evaluate your signs and symptoms first, he or she will then decide whether you need an in Home Sleep Test. These tests are necessary for your doctor to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is. Sleep studies are the most accurate tests for diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep studies are the only acceptable test to get reimbursement by your medical insurance coverage.

Testing

In order to diagnose patients with sleep apnea or other possible sleep disorders, patients must perform an overnight sleep study known as a polysomnograph (PSG). This is typically done in a sleep laboratory, requiring patients to spend the night at the lab, while the PSG equipment records the patient’s sleeping patterns (physiological data). However, with today’s technological advancements, a polysomnograph can be performed at home. This process is known as home sleep testing (HST): a convenient way of performing a sleep study at the convenience of the patient’s home.

 Benefits of Home Sleep Testing?

  • CONVENIENCE: No need to drive across town, miss work, or hassle with your insurance company to confirm coverage of an expensive procedure in a sleep lab. With our Sleep-Mgmt program, the Home Sleep device is delivered right to your door with complete instructions and a toll-free technical support line, should you need it. The next day, you simply drop everything in a standard U.S. Postal Service mailbox in the stamped, pre-paid priority box that is provided for you and wait 2-3 days for your doctor to receive the results. It couldn’t be easier!
  •  EASE OF USE: There’s nothing like the comfort of your own bed; many people find it difficult to sleep in a new place. How about sleeping in a new place while covered in electrodes with someone watching you from the next room? This is a typical night in a sleep lab, but not a typical night for anyone. With just a small device around your head, the sleep test can tell whether or not you have sleep apnea in a single night — in the comfort of your own home.
  • QUICK RESULTS: Once a home sleep test is completed, the information is reviewed by a board certified sleep specialist and a diagnosis is quickly sent to your ordering provider.

FYI

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) a Growing Clinical Problem

Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes; worsen heart failure; make irregular heartbeats more likely; and increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents.

Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes; worsen heart failure; make irregular heartbeats more likely; and increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents.

People who snore have 7 X’s greater chance of car accidents- worse than driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact one study indicates that one in five auto accidents are caused by drowsiness, 200,000 automobile accidents are related to drowsiness every year.

Daytime sleepiness affects your work performance and will make you feel tired due 
to the oxygen starvation to brain cells, tissues and organs.

Approximately one half of all patients who have essential hypertension are also afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, approximately one half of all patients who have sleep apnea have essential hypertension.

Approximately 9 percent of all men and 4 percent of all women between the ages of 30 and 60 are affected by sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea may occur in as much as 20 to 40 percent of the adult population that are snorers.

A person that is afflicted with untreated obstructive sleep apnea is up to four times as likely to have a stroke, as well as three times more likely to have heart disease.

People that are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are as much as six times more likely to be involved in a car crash then those without sleep disorders. This is due to the fact that they are drowsy from the condition.

In one of the new studies, researchers in Spain followed thousands of patients at sleep clinics and found that those with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind.

Snoring affects other family members by preventing them from sleeping. Snoring is probably the most common reason noted by couples for requesting two master bedrooms.

 Dangers of Snoring

  • Snoring is loud and noisy breathing during sleep which is caused by the vibration of tissue in the nose or throat.  Snoring may be very embarrassing to an individual and frustrating to a person’s bed mate as well. It has been estimated that anywhere from   30 – 50% of the United States population snore at some time or another.
  • As much as 30 percent of people age or ages thirty and above are snorers. The proportion rises to 40 percent when it comes to middle aged people.
  • Two thirds of all partnered adults say that their partner snores.
  • When asked individually whether they snore or not, people responded with “yes” at a rate of 6 out of 10, or 59 percent.
  • Snoring is not sleep apnea, and sleep apnea is not snoring. However, many patients with loud snoring do have significant obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Snoring is a social problem – however, many patients with loud snoring do have significant obstructive sleep apnea.