Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Downers Grove & Elmhurst

Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night?

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of more than 12 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Corina Radu at Premier Orthodontics & Dental Specialists is a medical professional trained to recognize symptoms and provide therapeutic care for sleep apnea in children and adults.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can include snoring, waking up with headaches, unusual sleeping positions, inability to focus during the day, feeling tired during the day, heart palpitations, and waking up with dry mouth/sore throat.

Mild sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes including regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, sleeping on your side, and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule. If you have tried these lifestyle changes with no results, give us a call to book an airway exam and evaluate the use of orthodontic appliances and other treatments for your sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as often as 20 or 30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, temporarily waking you to restart proper breathing.

Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it. Many believe they are getting a good night’s sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact Premier Orthodontics & Dental Specialists for help.

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning

3 Different Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three categories of sleep apnea. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and happens because of a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat.

Less common is central sleep apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don’t receive the proper signal from the brain.

And some people suffer from “mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone – regardless of gender or age – can suffer from sleep apnea.

Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem. If left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school and danger when driving or operating heavy machinery.

Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before you take prescribed medication or undergo surgery.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral – for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs.

Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.

If You Suspect Someone Suffers from Sleep Apnea

Contact Premier Orthodontics & Dental Specialists, and Dr. Radu can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist. The specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the precise extent of the problem and can prescribe appropriate treatment.

Depending on your situation, treatment may involve an oral device that Dr. Radu can custom-design for you.