Healthbeat: Getting help with sleep apnea

Healthbeat

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Sleep apnea is a serious problem for many people just trying to get a good night’s sleep. If not dealt with it can lead to some pretty serious problems.

The CDC says 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.

When we think of sleep apnea, we generally think of older folks with those loud machines hooked up to their mouths.

“Sleep apnea happens when a person is asleep at night and the soft tissues in the upper airways kind of relax, maybe fall back and start to block the airway so you’re not getting as much oxygen and good breathing as you should be during the night,” said Practice Manager Abby Bloch, New Horizons Sleep Solutions.

And what exactly do those machines do?

“A CPAP machine works by forcing air in whereas an oral appliance therapy lifts the tissues and supports the airway that way so that a person can breathe without having the airways collapse at night,” said Dr.James Bloch, dentist at New Horizons Sleep Solutions.

But the way sleep apnea is dealt with has changed over the years.

“We currently have some new technology that uses sonar acoustic waves to measure the patient’s airway volume. We can simulate their airway collapse and we can tell what we can do for them with oral appliance therapy as far as opening their airway and supporting their airway,” said Dr. Bloch.

This treatment allows the patient more mobility at night and the ease of not relying on an electrical outlet, or surgery.

The benefits to oral appliance therapy versus a CPAP machine, is it resembles a retainer making it easy and discreet to travel with and is easy to clean and allows you to sleep on your side.

The CPAP machine on the other hand is large and bulky to carry around.

One patient was having brain fog, snoring, and not getting a restful night sleep leading her to seeking medical help and experiencing positive results from the oral appliance.

“I’m sleeping more deeply, I’m dreaming again and that’s a good sign that means you’re doing the REM sleep but overall I just feel so much better,” said Enni Gregas, patient.

Of those, sleepapnea.org says 22 million have sleep apnea.

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