So You Think You Have Sleep Apnea, Now What?

In the past few weeks, we talked about the possible serious consequences of interrupted sleep and how you can get tested at a sleep center after talking to your MD..

Treatments offered for sleep apnea are many and include various surgeries, a CPAP device or possibly an oral appliance.

In 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggested the credibility and the importance of oral appliances in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea or for those who cannot tolerate the CPAP or where surgeries fail.

If you are prescribed an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea, it is important to be evaluated on a return visit to the sleep center so it can be adjusted and to assess its effectiveness objectively.

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Sleep Disorders and Your RDI Number!

Sleep disorders affect a large number of Americans, the estimate is around 90 million, and include snoring all the way to sleep apnea.

In order find if you have a sleep disorder, a measurement of your “respiratory distress index” is necessary.  This is done by in a sleep study prescribed by your doctor.

This index indicates how many “respiratory events” occur in an hour. These events are either a decrease or complete stoppage of your breathing for more than 10 seconds. An index of approximately 5-15 means a patient has sleep apnea and over 30 is considered severe sleep apnea.

A trained dentist upon the request of a sleep physician can treat some milder forms of sleep apnea. However, oral appliances are not indicated as a first line treatment in severe sleep apnea.  More on treatments next time.