Understanding Sleep Apnea: Answers to Your Questions
If you or a loved one suffer from daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, or memory problems, you may be dealing with sleep apnea. While treatment for a sleep disorder might seem intimidating, Dr. Clifford Degel and Dr. Carmen Every-Degel are prepared to help answer your questions about sleep apnea and the noninvasive treatment options that are available to you during your consultation at their Queens, NY, office. We have helped many patients achieve relief from the effects of sleep apnea using simple, minimally invasive oral appliance therapy and are ready to help you enhance your quality of life, as well.
Am I at Risk of Sleep Apnea?
Although sleep apnea can affect both children and adults, the risk increases as you get older. In addition to age, certain conditions and lifestyle factors make sleep apnea much more likely, including:
- High alcohol intake
- Enlarged tongue, tonsils, or adenoids
- Smoking or tobacco use
- African-American, Hispanic, or Native American ancestry
However, the largest risk factor by far remains obesity. A number of studies have shown that weight loss can reduce the effects of sleep apnea.
I Snore A Lot. Is It Caused by Sleep Apnea?
The only way to confirm whether you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. This can be done in your own home with a take-home sleep monitor or in a sleep specialist's office. During the sleep study, a specialist will use a polysomnogram to measure your brain activity, blood oxygen levels, and other vitals while you sleep. The entire study takes approximately ten hours but can help you get a definitive diagnosis.
What about CPAP Therapy?
CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure therapy is one of the most effective options for reducing symptoms of severe sleep apnea cases. However, because the CPAP machine is worn over the nose and mouth during sleep and can be noisy and disruptive, some patients have difficulty adjusting to it.
As sleep apnea can have serious effects on your overall health, we encourage you to visit us and discuss whether oral appliance therapy can help you.
I Tried CPAP and Often Remove My Mask During Sleep. What Do I Do?
One of the major drawbacks of CPAP is the mask which must be worn during sleep. If you are having trouble keeping your mask on throughout the night, oral appliance therapy may be a better alternative for you.
My Snoring Doesn't Bother Anyone. Why Do I Need Treatment?
Although your partner or roommate might not be bothered by your snoring, obstructive sleep apnea can have serious effects on your overall health. The International Academy of Sleep has linked sleep apnea to mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and memory loss, as well as physical health issues such as high blood pressure, an increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and fatigue-related accidents. The disorder is serious and can lead to a decreased quality of life or premature death if left untreated.
How Can Oral Appliance Therapy Help Me?
In addition to improving your sleep and reducing your risk of serious illness, oral appliance therapy can improve your quality of life. In a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information which surveyed 96 patients, the researchers found that a custom appliance can:
- Reduce episodes of sleep apnea
- Reduce snoring
- Minimize restless leg syndrome
The device can consequently help boost energy levels during the day and give you a renewed outlook on life.
Get the Relief You Deserve
Our doctors have been helping patients diagnose and treat their health concerns for nearly 20 years. As sleep apnea can have serious effects on your overall health, we encourage you to visit us and discuss whether oral appliance therapy can help you. Call us at (718) 278-1123 or submit an online contact form to schedule your consultation.