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Sleep Apnea Treatment and CPAP Alternatives in Casper WY

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow.  Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to several minutes and may occur 30 or more times per hour, cutting off your oxygen supply.

OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA  is the most common type of sleep disorder.  It causes your airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep. Normal breathing starts again with a snort or choking sound. People with Sleep Apnea often snore loudly – a warning sign of OSA.  However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.  This clearly makes testing critical to one’s overall health.

You are more at risk for sleep apnea if you are overweight, male, or have a family history of small airways. Children with enlarged tonsils may also have it.

Doctors diagnose Sleep Apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results.

When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents, and other medical problems. If you have OSA, it is important to get treatment. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can treat sleep apnea in most people.

Causes

When you sleep, the muscles in your body become more relaxed. This includes the muscles that help keep your throat open so air can flow into your lungs. Normally, your throat remains open enough during sleep to let air pass by. However, some people have a narrow throat. When the muscles in their upper throat relax during sleep, the tissues close in and block the airway. This stop in breathing is called apnea. One of the telltale symptoms of sleep apnea is loud snoring which is caused by  air squeezing through the narrowed or blocked airway. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other factors that may increase your risk:

  • A lower jaw that is short compared to your upper jaw.
  • Certain shapes of the roof of your mouth (palate) or airway that cause it to collapse more easily.
  • Large neck or collar size (17 inches or more in men and 16 inches or more in women).
  • Large tongue, which may fall back and block the airway.
  • Obesity.
  • Large tonsils and adenoids in children that can block the airway.

Symptoms

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you usually begin snoring heavily soon after falling asleep.

  • The snoring often becomes very loud.
  • Snoring is interrupted by a long, silent period in which your breathing stops.
  • The silence is followed by a forceful snort and gasp, as you attempt to breathe.
  • This pattern repeats throughout the night.

Most people with obstructive sleep apnea don’t know their breathing starts and stops during the night. Usually, a sleep partner or other family members hear the loud snoring, gasping, and snorting. Snoring can be noisy enough to hear through walls.

People with sleep apnea may:

  • Wake up unrefreshed in the morning
  • Feel sleepy or drowsy throughout the day
  • Act grumpy, impatient, or irritable
  • Fall asleep while working, reading, or watching TV
  • Feel sleepy while driving, or even fall asleep while driving
  • Have hard-to-treat headaches

Other problems that may occur include depression, hyperactive behavior (especially in children), difficult to treat high blood pressure, and leg swelling (if severe)

CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA

Central sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops over and over during sleep. Central sleep apnea results when the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. The condition often occurs in people who have certain medical problems. For example, it can develop in someone who has a problem with the brainstem, which controls breathing.

Central sleep apnea is not the same as obstructive sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea, breathing stops and starts because the airway is narrowed or blocked, while central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s function during sleep.  It is possible for a person to have both conditions, such as those with obesity hypoventilation syndrome.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Conditions that can cause or lead to central sleep apnea include:

  • Problems that affect the brainstem (the brainstem controls breathing) including brain infection, stroke, or conditions of the cervical spine (neck)
  • Parkinson disease
  • Obesity
  • Certain medicines, such as narcotic painkillers
  • Heart failure
  • If the apnea is not associated with another disease, it is called idiopathic central sleep apnea.

A condition called Cheyne-Stokes respiration can mimic central sleep apnea. This involves breathing to a variable depth, usually while sleeping.

Symptoms

Persons with central sleep apnea have episodes of disrupted breathing during sleep.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep

Other symptoms may occur if the apnea is due to a problem with the nervous system. Symptoms depend on the parts of the nervous system that are affected, and may include:

  • Swallowing problems
  • Voice changes
  • Weakness or numbness throughout the body

COMPLEX/MIXED SLEEP APNEA

Results of a detailed study of complex sleep apnea, the name preferred by Mayo Clinic researchers, were announced by the Mayo team in 2006. In their report, the researchers described a phenomenon in which a significant fraction of patients diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea failed to breathe normally after positive airway pressure was applied and their airways were opened. Rather their sleep apnea assumed the characteristics of central sleep apnea–the sleepers made no effort to breathe during apneic episodes, as if their brains were issuing no breathe command to the lungs.

In the group of 223 sleep apnea patients the Mayo researchers studied, 15 percent responded in this way, suggesting the presence of complex sleep apnea.

SLEEP STUDY

Traditionally, a sleep study would assess your sleeping  habits at a defined location.

Yet, for screening purposes, this can be quite inconvenient for patients.  You, like many others, are less likely to pursue this option if your physician makes such a referral.

You are in luck! Today’s advanced technology can allow you to be screened from the comfort of your own home.   This is the precise business model we have implemented at RestfulSleep Screenings.  We were greatly alarmed by the number of people who simply would not get the test done due to inconvenience and we have developed this program in order to address that issue.

In fact, most medical insurance companies require a home sleep study before a patient is seen at a sleep laboratory.  Do not confuse this screening test with treatment though!  There is a possibility that, based on our findings, you may ultimately be referred to such a lab for a more thorough work up and treatment.  This can be critical to your care and managing your medical condition.  You may also may be asked to visit a sleep lab for proper management of your CPAP machine as the lab can titrate your device and guarantee maximum efficacy.  Meanwhile,  for those with mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea, an Oral Appliance may be indicated.

Our Office
130 N Ash St #202,
Casper, WY 82601

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