Sleep Apnea Treatment: How Long Until I’m Better?

Whether you have been formally diagnosed with sleep apnea or highly suspect you or your partner is suffering from it, you may be wondering if it is a condition that will ever go away. Are you destined to be chained to a CPAP every night for the rest of your life? Do you have to undergo invasive, uncomfortable surgery in order to get better in the long term? The answer to both of those questions is: No! Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea treatment and the best, non-invasive way to treat sleep apnea in the long term.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. Most people with sleep apnea experience symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. The two main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

In OSA, a narrowing of the airway during sleep leads to breathing disruptions. In CSA, the breathing disruptions are caused by a lack of communication between the brain and the muscles involved in breathing.

These breathing interruptions reduce sleep quality and, if left untreated, can lead to potentially serious health consequences. It’s critical to work with a doctor if you think you may be at risk for sleep apnea so that you can get any necessary testing and treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

If you snore, or your partner is a heavy snorer, don’t let it go as an annoying habit. It could be one of the most serious symptoms of sleep apnea there is. Snoring is dangerous and can lead to health complications because breathing through the mouth allows in toxins that the nose usually filters out. This can lead to poor oxygen quality in the blood, dental issues, and much more.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea, aside from snoring, include:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Often requiring a nap, more coffee than usual, or more sugary drinks than usual to get through the day
  • Gasping or choking sounds while sleeping
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Frequent dry mouth
  • Waking up frequently in the night, especially to urinate
  • Increased irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty focusing

There are many risk factors for sleep apnea, including age, BMI, sleeping position, smoking habits, drinking habits, certain medications, nasal congestion, and certain medical conditions. There are some lifestyle changes you can make that may help your symptoms if you have mild sleep apnea; however, sleep apnea still requires treatment to help make long-term successful results.

How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is important to get a diagnosis of sleep apnea so that you can get the proper treatment. Sleep apnea does not get better over time; in fact, it worsens over time and does not go away on its own. Undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can lead to many health issues, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Higher risk of dementia
  • Depression

The process of getting diagnosed with sleep apnea is simple. All you have to do is talk to your doctor and let them know the symptoms you are experiencing. They will go over your risk factors, as well as some lifestyle changes that could possibly help your symptoms.

You may then need to do a sleep study in order to receive your diagnosis. During polysomnography, multiple sensors are used to track breathing, awakenings, oxygen levels, muscle movement, sleep stages, and other aspects of sleep. An in-clinic sleep study can determine if breathing is abnormal and differentiate between obstructive and central sleep apnea.

After you receive the results of your sleep study, bring them to Gorman Health and Wellness. For every sleep apnea case at our practice, Dr. Gorman will gather your data and determine your needs based on home sleep test results, dental impressions, CT scans, and images. Our state-of-the-art technology, paired with Dr. Gorman’s experience with sleep disorders, allows him to find the most effective treatment plan for each individual’s particular case, yielding improved daytime and nighttime breathing for the patient.

What is Sleep Apnea Treatment Like?

Depending on your underlying factors, there are many routes to take when deciding what sleep apnea treatment may be best for you and your particular situation. Sleep apnea can range from mild to severe. Some treatment options available for sleep apnea include surgery to remove the obstruction causing your OSA symptoms, mouthpieces, CPAP Machines, and the Vivos Method.

Understanding Your Root Cause

The most important part of sleep apnea treatment is understanding the root cause of your symptoms. There is no single cookie-cutter treatment for sleep apnea. It is important to understand your particular situation so that you can receive the proper care.

Some root causes for sleep apnea may include:

  • Your neck. If you have excess weight around your neck or have a thick neck circumference, you will experience an increased risk of sleep apnea due to the extra weight on your airways.
  • Narrowed airway. Whether you were born with a naturally narrow airway or have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, people with narrow airways will experience an increased risk of sleep apnea.
  • Certain medical conditions. People with medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, PCOS, asthma and other lung conditions, and heart issues (including high blood pressure) will see an increased risk of sleep apnea.
  • Your age. Sleep apnea is mostly diagnosed in adults. While sleep apnea is more common in men than women, women are usually diagnosed after they have gone through menopause.
  • Congestion. Do you have allergy issues? Do you experience nasal congestion frequently? Addressing this issue can greatly reduce your risk and symptoms of sleep apnea if it is your underlying cause.
  • Lifestyle choices. Certain lifestyle choices, such as the use of alcohol and smoking, will increase your risk of sleep apnea. Alcohol relaxes the airway too much, which causes an obstruction, and smoking causes inflammation of the airways.

Dangers of CPAP Machines

CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is a machine used to treat sleep apnea. Most people, when diagnosed with sleep apnea, immediately assume that this is the only treatment available for their condition. While it is the most commonly used treatment method, it is not the only one.

There are many dangers to using a CPAP machine. These include:

  • Lifetime sentence. If you choose to use a CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea symptoms, you have signed up for a lifetime sentence. CPAP machines do not treat your underlying cause. It is just a bandaid to help force air into your airways. When you don’t use it, your sleep apnea symptoms will come right back.
  • Uncomfortable. CPAP machines are generally uncomfortable. It is a mask that must be strapped to your head and covers your entire face. This is not the ideal way to get a comfortable night’s sleep, and it is difficult to get used to.
  • Loud. The CPAP machine is a, well, machine, which means it turns on and makes noise. The noise it produces may not be any quieter than the snoring you were doing, which isn’t much help for your bed-sharing partner.
  • Impractical. If you like to travel often, are busy, or live in an area with frequent power outages, relying on a CPAP machine to help you sleep can be impractical.
  • Difficult to maintain. CPAP machines require maintenance or begin to harbor bacteria and germs, which can cause rashes on your skin. In addition, a dirty reservoir can lead to bacteria and mold, which can cause you to get sick frequently.
  • Dangerous recalls. CPAP machines have had recalls in the past. The recalls have involved pieces being sucked into the mask and other dangerous situations.

The Vivos Method for Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you do not want a lifetime sentence with a CPAP machine or invasive surgery to treat your sleep apnea symptoms, the Vivos Method for sleep apnea treatment may be perfect for you. Gorman Health and Wellness is one of the very few clinics in the area that can prescribe it as a treatment method, including those who suffer from severe OSA.

The Vivos Method represents the first clinically effective nonsurgical, noninvasive, nonpharmaceutical, and cost-effective solution for treating mild to severe OSA. It has proven effective in approximately 40,000 patients treated worldwide by more than 1,850 trained dentists.

If you suffer from severe OSA, you can get relief with the Vivos Method. The statistically significant data submitted to the FDA from 73 severe OSA patients showed that 80% of patients experienced an improvement of at least one classification or at least a 50% improvement in the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI), and 97% of patients improved or stayed the same.

The average treatment time was just 9.7 months. Treatment results were better with severe sleep apnea patients than with mild and moderate patients. Your results from The Vivos Method will depend upon your commitment to follow the directions and protocols prescribed by your doctors and other providers. Still, most people experience results in about 12 months—a lifetime better than the results of a CPAP machine.

Sleep Apnea Treatment with Gorman Health and Wellness

Are you ready to get relief for your sleep apnea symptoms without a lifetime of being chained to a CPAP machine? We are one of the few clinics that can help get you there through the Vivos Method.

Dr. Gorman is a part of the breathing wellness movement, which aims to increase awareness and improve treatment for sleep-related airway conditions like sleep apnea. He has partnered with organizations focused on collaborating with dentists to apply the sciences of Craniofacial Epigenetics (the study of cranial modifications caused by gene expression as opposed to genetic code alteration) and Pneumopedics® (the practical application of oral appliance therapy and non-surgical airway remodeling) in the management of sleep apnea.

Applying these sciences allows for underlying causes of airway obstruction to be treated in 98% of cases, resulting in a high success rate among sleep apnea patients.

“I have been helping people suffering from Sleep Apnea with a non-invasive, clinically approved treatment method. This method has allowed my patients to sleep with far fewer events per hour, allowing them to get rid of their CPAP and BiPAP machines. Imagine not having to use one of those machines, getting back a much greater quality of life along with the benefits of being able to breathe better.” – Dr. Gorman.

For more information on Dr. Gorman, improving your sleep apnea, and decreasing your risk for increased health risks, contact us today.

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