Sleep Apnea in Northridge, CA
Restoring Sleep and Restoring Health
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. If you wake up each morning tired and unrested, it may be a sign of sleep apnea. Luckily, you don’t have to continue to live with this disorder. Kevin H Gropp, DDS offers effective sleep apnea treatment, ensuring you get the sleep you need.
If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, seek professional care. Schedule your appointment today with our dentist in Northridge by calling 818-709-8645.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. It occurs when the muscles in the throat and mouth relax, causing the airway to become partially or entirely blocked. This obstruction restricts airflow, leading to breathing pauses that last for a few seconds to a few minutes. These pauses can occur multiple times throughout the night, severely impacting sleep quality.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The most prevalent form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax, causing an airway blockage.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): CSA is less common and involves a malfunction in the brain’s respiratory control, where the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (CSAS): Also known as mixed sleep apnea, CSAS is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep, which are often observed by a bed partner
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent awakenings during the night to urinate (nocturia)
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or believe you have sleep apnea, contact our Northridge dental office today to set up your consultation.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are various causes and risk factors for developing sleep apnea. These include:
- Gender: Men are generally at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea than women, although the risk increases for women after menopause.
- Age: Sleep apnea is more common in older adults, but it can affect people of all ages, including children.
- Family History: A family history of sleep apnea may increase the risk.
- Alcohol and Sedative Use: The consumption of alcohol or sedative medications can relax throat muscles, increasing the risk of airway obstruction.
- Smoking: Smokers are more likely to develop sleep apnea due to increased inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
- Nasal Congestion: Chronic nasal congestion or allergies can make it difficult to breathe through the nose, increasing the likelihood of developing sleep apnea.
- Neck Circumference: People with a thicker neck circumference may have a narrower airway, making them more susceptible to OSA.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
To obtain a sleep apnea diagnosis, you’ll likely experience the following:
- Physical Examination: We’ll conduct a thorough examination of your mouth, throat, and neck to identify any anatomical factors that may contribute to sleep apnea, such as enlarged tonsils or a narrow airway. If we believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, we’ll refer you to a sleep specialist for a sleep study.
- Sleep Study: Polysomnography is the most common test used to diagnose sleep apnea. This overnight study involves monitoring your sleep patterns, brain activity, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vital signs. It can be conducted in a sleep laboratory or at home using portable monitoring devices.
- Diagnosis: The sleep specialist will go over the results of your sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea. For people with sleep apnea, you’ll return to our Northridge dental office where we’ll create your custom treatment plan.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
There are various types of sleep apnea treatments available. We’ll go over your options and discuss which will be best suited to treat sleep apnea and meet your needs.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy
CPAP is a widely used treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep, which delivers a constant stream of pressurized air, keeping the airway open.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Custom-fitted oral appliances, similar to mouthguards, can be prescribed to reposition the jaw and tongue, preventing airway obstruction during sleep.
Certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. These may include maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and sleeping on your side rather than your back.
Mouth and Throat Exercises
Mouth and throat exercises can be a useful complement to other treatments for mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles in the mouth and throat, potentially reducing the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. However, these exercises may not be a standalone solution for moderate to severe OSA.
In some cases, surgical options may be considered to address anatomical issues contributing to sleep apnea. These include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), genioglossus advancement, or mandibular advancement surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sleep apnea go undiagnosed?
Yes, sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed as its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions or overlooked as mere snoring. Many individuals may attribute their daytime fatigue, lack of energy, or morning headaches to factors unrelated to sleep apnea. Seeking professional evaluation is essential for avoiding undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Can children develop sleep apnea?
Yes, sleep apnea can affect individuals of all ages, including children. Pediatric sleep apnea often occurs due to anatomical factors such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which can obstruct the airway during sleep. Children with sleep apnea may exhibit symptoms such as snoring, restless sleep, bedwetting, and daytime sleepiness.
Are there any natural remedies for sleep apnea?
While lifestyle changes can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms, professional treatment is usually necessary for effective management. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to better sleep quality and overall well-being. Lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and practicing good sleep hygiene can have a positive impact.
Break Free from Sleep Apnea
Take control of your sleep and reclaim the restful nights you deserve. It’s time to seek professional help and discover effective treatment options that can make a significant difference.
Contact our Northridge dental team today at 818-709-8645 to schedule an appointment. Together, we can address your sleep apnea concerns, provide personalized care, and guide you toward a healthier, more revitalized life complete with healthy sleep.