What is obstructive sleep apnea, and what treatment options may be recommended?
Dr. Tokiko Poppe of Cosmos Dentistry describes obstructive sleep apnea, sometimes referred to by the acronym OSA, as a sleep disorder in which breathing is frequently interrupted during sleep. OSA can happen when the structures like muscles in the back of the throat do not keep the airway fully open, regardless of the efforts to breathe. This results in a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood and can lead to other health problems, such as heart disease.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, obstructive sleep apnea affects up to 9% of the adult population. Unfortunately, not everyone who has OSA even knows, which means many are being left without treatment for this condition.
What are my next steps if I suspect I have OSA?
If you think you may have OSA, it’s vital that you go to see your primary care physician or a local sleep specialist for a definitive diagnosis. They will discuss with you your symptoms, which may include:
- Stopped breathing during sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Memory loss or trouble concentrating
- Poor quality sleep each night
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
What are some treatment options for OSA?
Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea vary depending on the severity of the condition. But it may include lifestyle changes, including becoming more active, losing weight, or avoiding alcohol; mouthpieces or other devices that keep the airways open throughout the night as you sleep; and, in some cases, surgery.
In the meantime, try to get good quality sleep by following these tips:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark
- Limit your exposure to blue light in the evening
- Practice some relaxation techniques before bedtime
What should I do if I believe I am dealing with obstructive sleep apnea?
If you think you might have OSA, don’t wait to get help. Talk to your primary doctor today to learn more about obstructive sleep apnea treatment options that may be recommended, including using a CPAP device or a mouth appliance. Call (425) 448-4770 to request an appointment with Dr. Tokiko Poppe of Cosmos Dentistry in Bellevue, WA.