By Larry Pribyl, DDS
Did you know there are over 80 different types of sleep disorders? There are many different ways our sleep can be affected. The average number of hours we sleep is getting less, not only because of a sleep disorder we may have, but also because our sleep may be disrupted by the sleep disorder of a family member.
Types of Sleep Disorders
The most common sleep disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This occurs when the muscles in the throat collapse and close off the airway. That means there is no air getting in or out of the lungs. This is a very serious situation as the human body cannot be without oxygen for very long. This has very harmful effects on the heart and brain especially.
The next most common sleep issues are UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome) and RERA (Respiratory Effort Related Arousal). UARS occurs when the muscles of the airway become relaxed. This relaxation in turn reduces the diameter of the airway. Someone who has UARS usually has an already restricted airway so this additional relaxation reduces the size even more. Breathing becomes labored, similar to breathing through a straw. In RERA, the patient is having arousals from sleep that do not meet the definition of an apnea. They are characterized by abrupt transitions from a deeper sleep to a lighter stage of sleep. There is an increase in respiratory effort for 10 seconds or more and this leads to an arousal from deeper sleep.
In both UARS and RERA, the patient does not have total airway closure, as in obstructive apnea. Patients with these conditions exhibit excessive daytime sleepiness. Being overweight or snoring can be a strong indicator of sleep apnea. However, there are other correlations between sleep apnea and certain health conditions. If you have any of these health issues, you have a greater likelihood of having sleep apnea as well: hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic ischemic heart disease, GERD, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, asthma, chronic renal failure, angina, and gout.
Oral appliances are very effective in managing all three of these issues, OSA UARS and RERA.
What If I Have Sleep Apnea?
So what do you do if you suspect you may have sleep apnea? Ask your primary care physician to order a sleep study. This is the type of sleep study where you stay in a hospital setting or other sleep “lab” the entire night.
Get Back the Restful Sleep You Deserve
If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder or have sleep apnea and are currently not treating it, give us a call at 816-795-1000 for a consultation. We make oral sleep appliances that can manage sleep apnea without the use of a cumbersome CPAP or BiPAP machine. An oral sleep appliance may be exactly what you need to get back the restful sleep you deserve.
Larry Pribyl, DDS, has been in private practice over thirty five years. He has his Master of Excellence: American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, he is a Diplomate: American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, and a Diplomate: Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines. He specializes in treating head, neck, and facial pain as well as dental sleep medicine. His training comes from experts in these fields where he has acquired hundreds of continuing education hours in post graduate studies.