Frequently Asked Questions
Who should be tested for sleep apnea?
Those who snore, for a start. Snoring is often the first and best sign that something's wrong. Even if you don't have sleep apnea, snoring could be causing you and your bed partner to lose precious sleep during the night, and an oral appliance can help. In addition to chronic snorers, those who are overweight are also at a high risk of this disorder, and males are especially susceptible. Even if you don't fall into these high risk categories, you could still benefit from an assessment if you're struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Most commonly, adults who suffer from sleep apnea exhibit loud snoring and profound sleepiness during the day. Almost every person who has sleep apnea has a snoring problem, but not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If your bed partner or family member has expressed a concern that you may be ceasing to breathe during the night and/or are especially restless during sleep, you should consider a sleep apnea assessment. People with sleep apnea may also have a tendency toward high blood pressure, weight gain, depression, or other conditions detrimental to their health.
What causes sleep apnea?
The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) isn't possible to pinpoint in your case until after an evaluation. However, it could occur due in part to factors such as obesity, a family history of sleep apnea, or a naturally small airway. In general terms, sleep apnea occurs when insufficient air reaches your lungs during the night. When you're awake, your throat muscles keep your airway open so you breathe normally. The same thing is supposed to happen during the night, but it doesn't work that way for those people with sleep apnea. In the cases of these patients, the airway collapses periodically throughout the night and causes a pause in normal breathing. Those under the influence of alcohol or sedative medication may experience a greater frequency of breathing lapses.
Why should I be evaluated for sleep apnea?
Simply put, some cases of sleep apnea can be fatal. Think about the reality of this condition: it's something that causes you to stop breathing not just once, but many times a night! Sleep apnea has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, arrhythmia, erectile dysfunction, depression, and many more serious health issues. That's only a portion of the overall picture, too--there could be other long-term problems caused by sleep apnea that medical science has yet to uncover. If you think you have sleep apnea, just remember that the longer you wait, the greater the health hazards your body could be enduring. This problem won't go away on its own, so call us for a consultation today and get on the road to better rest.
How is sleep apnea or snoring treated?
Dr. Rodgers may recommend changing certain aspects of your lifestyle or habits, as well as using a mouthguard. Most often, a combination of the two will effectively address a patient's mild to moderate sleep apnea. A much smaller number of patients – those with more severe cases of sleep apnea – might need a breathing device or surgical treatment. Talk to Dr. Rodgers about a home sleep study that’s available from our Dunwoody office. Once you've been evaluated, he can recommend the most appropriate treatment for your situation.
How do I adjust my oral appliance?
All oral appliances are adjusted slightly differently, and we will be happy to show you how to adjust yours during any visit to Sleep Better Georgia. The video below is a tutorial on adjusting the Herbst, our most commonly prescribed oral appliance.