Many people are familiar with the term “Obstructive Sleep Apnea” or “OSA”, but only a few are aware of what the disorder actually is, how it affects their bodies, and how to effectively treat the symptoms.
Obstructive Sleep Apneas, (OSA) is a potentially serious medical condition, and the most common type of sleep apnea found today, affecting over 18 million people in the United States alone. Generally, OSA occurs when something blocks part of or all your upper airway, causing pauses in breath during sleep. This pause results in decreased blood oxygen levels, and restless sleep throughout the night.
What Are The Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Physically speaking, Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles found in the back of your throat relax too much during sleep to allow for normal breathing. When these muscles relax, your airways narrow so much that it results in a stoppage of breath for an average of 10 to 20 seconds. This pattern then repeats itself time and again throughout the night.
While it’s true that anyone can develop OSA, there are certain factors that play a prominent role in the disorder’s appearance. For instance, in children, some of the leading causes of OSA are enlarged tonsils or adenoids. But in adults there is a wide range of factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing Obstructive Sleep Apnea, including, but not limited to:
- Excess Weight
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Sex (Men are most likely to experience OSA)
- & more
How to Identify Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA Symptoms)
The most obvious and common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is loud snoring, but there are many other symptoms associated with the disorder. It’s important to remember that people may experience symptoms of OSA for a long period of time without ever knowing they have the disorder, and on the flip side patients may treat the disorder and alleviate the symptoms.
These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime sweating
- Decreased libido
The results of these symptoms are vast, ranging from decreased growth rates in children to heart and respiratory conditions in adults, and more.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
The severity of your OSA will dictate your treatment path. For many suffering from this disorder, the first step that should be taken is a lifestyle change. Maybe you need to quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, or lose weight. But this alone in many cases won’t provide the relief you’re looking for.
For many, they turn to the expensive option of a full CPAP machine. This is the most well known and common treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and is proven to be very effective at treating the disorder. The problem is, however, the CPAP machine is very cumbersome and requires users to wear a full face mask while sleeping, to achieve the desired results.
Another option is a VPAP machine, but this also requires users to wear a large mask during the duration of their night’s sleep. Additionally, many patients opt to have sleep apnea surgery, such as a tonsillectomy, turbinectomy, or even straightening of the deviated septum.
A Non-Invasive Way to Treat Mild To Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As you can image these expensive and invasive options are not extremely attractive to all patients. While in some cases a CPAP Machine, VPAP Machine, or surgery may be necessary, for cases of mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea, results can be achieved at a much lower cost, and with much less intrusion by using one simple oral appliance.
These oral appliances, such as the FDA Cleared BFIT Oral Sleep Appliance, are easy to use, cost-efficient, comfortable, and extremely effective at treating the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. These mouth guards work as splints to keep your air passages open by holding the lower jaw down, in a forward position, and the tongue away from your airways.
The result is a drastic reduction in snoring, increases in REM sleep, and much larger impacts on the user’s overall wellbeing.
To learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or ways to treat it contact our team at Get A BFIT today!