Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep. The pauses in breath can last from a few seconds to minutes at a time. The severity of the condition depends on the number of occurrences per hour during sleep. Usually, the normal breathing starts back up again with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea is usually a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep that may result in poor sleep quality and make you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.

The condition of sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can't detect the condition during routine office visits. Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member and/or bed partner may be the first to notice the signs of sleep apnea.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that a portion of the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea happens more often in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. If left untreated sleep apnea can:
•Increase the risk for such conditions as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
•Increase the risk for or worsen heart failure
•Make irregular heartbeats more likely
•Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

A “sleep study” is usually required to diagnose sleep apnea.
Treatment for sleep apnea may include lifestyle changes, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), surgery, and/or oral appliances.

Dr. Wu is well trained to fabricate custom oral appliances for sleep apnea, having completed an advanced course in serious training for Dental Sleep Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry. Please give us a call at 650-322-0288 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.