When a patient is diagnosed by a medical doctor to have sleep apnea, most of the time they are prescribed a CPAP machine to use every night during sleep. However, patients may not like the CPAP machine, or patients simply cannot use it.
A CPAP machine may hurt patients. It may be too noisy for some patients. It may cause a rash, or it may cause sores.
It may make some patients feel claustrophobic.
It may bother the patients’ sleep partner.
Patients who have challenges using a CPAP machine are not alone.
The majority of CPAP users have one or more of the commonly associated difficulties with usage.
A large percentage of people who are prescribed a CPAP machine do not use it one year later.
The alternative is oral appliance therapy.
This is the treatment of choice for mild to moderate sleep apnea but for severe sleep apnea it is wise to try the CPAP machine first.
For patients who find themselves intolerant to using the CPAP machine, we can hopefully answer some of your questions about the alternative to CPAP.
Sleep disorders affect 40% of Canadian adults, according to research Dr. Charles Morin supervised at Universite Laval. Snoring and sleep apnea are two frequent disorders, with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) being the most common, accounting for approximately 25% of cases. A sleep apnea mouthguard or snoring mouthpiece can be custom designed as treatment for patients with these conditions. The Canadian Sleep Society Guidelines suggest having these devices created by a dentist who has additional training on treating patients with sleep disordered breathing. At our clinic, Dr. Goodfellow practice limited to TMJ and Sleep Therapy in Toronto, we have that training.
The 3 Types of Sleep Apnea Toronto Patients May Experience
The word “apnea” means to stop breathing for 10 seconds or more. When you stop breathing for this amount of time or more while you are sleeping, this is referred to as sleep apnea.
(OSA) Obstructive Sleep Apnea
With adults, OAS is when a patient has sleep fragmentation during sleep due to a repeated closure (either partial or complete) of the upper airway.
In children, common causes are an enlargement in the adenoids and tonsils.
With this type, the central nervous system does not provide a proper breathing signal. The result is that oxygen does not properly arrive in the lungs and diaphragm.
This type involves a combination of both obstructive and central apnea.
Common Symptoms with OSA
This occurs more often in post-menopausal women and men who are overweight.
Symptoms more easily noticeable include difficulty going to sleep and then staying asleep. People with this condition may wake up one or many times during the night to visit the washroom. People may also gasp for air while asleep because they stopped breathing for a short while. Snoring is common with this condition as well.
Upon waking, people suffering with this issue may not feel refreshed. They may feel sleepy or tired during the day. The risk of motor vehicle accidents may be higher. Memory may be poor and the potential for depression may be higher.
Longer term issues that may be linked to this condition include weight gain; cardio-vascular issues including a potentially increased risk of a stroke or hypertension; and potentially increased risk of diabetes.
With children, additional possible symptoms to be aware of include slower mental or physical growth and development. Bedwetting may occur. A risk for ADHD may be higher.
Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea in Toronto can cause various health challenges in children which includes fatigue and sleepiness during the day. Slower development, both physically and mentally, is also linked to this condition. This includes a difficulty with maintaining attention in school.
Many children needlessly suffer though because parents and health care practitioners are not aware of the tell-tale signs of obstructive sleep apnea in a child. Once adults in authority positions know what to look for, children who they believe may have this condition can get properly tested for a sleep disorder.
Here is what pediatric sleep apnea looks like in a child or teenager.
A jaw problem is commonly associated with sleep apnea. A misaligned jaw may reveal itself with an overbite or an underbite.
A child may be a mouth breather. This can be seen when the child is sleeping or even during the day when awake. The front teeth may protrude as well.
A child may show physical signs of sleeping poorly such as having perspiring abnormally.
Obesity is another potential sign to be aware of.
A medical doctor is the only health care practitioner who can diagnose sleep apnea since it is classified as a medical condition.
The process involves initially filling out a questionnaire regarding how tired and alert a person feels throughout the day. The person’s medical history is also addressed.
The patients’ airway is then examined to determine the extent of any problems with the nose and mouth as it relates to the airway and obstructions.
An appointment is then set for the patient to have a sleep study performed. An overnight sleep test may be needed in a sleep lab. In some cases a home sleep study will be allowed.
The medical doctor who is a sleep specialist will then review the results of the sleep study. Based on this assessment, a diagnosis will be provided which will identify the type of sleep disorder the patient has.
If it is determined that the patient has the medical condition of sleep apnea, the rating of the severity of this condition will be provided.
How To Treat Sleep Apnea Normally and With Natural Alternatives
An oral appliance is often used for adult patients with a diagnosis of mild or moderate levels of severity. The mouth guard gently re-positions the airway to allow more oxygen flow during sleep.
A CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure machine) is used for patients with a diagnosis of a severe level. In some cases, a patient is CPAP intolerant so a sleep apnea treatment other than CPAP can be explored with qualified professionals. A good CPAP alternative for patients with intolerance is often the use of a custom dental mouth guard.
Additional methods that may be of help would be sleeping on one’s side and/or weight loss.
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Call 905-470-0009 for an appointment.
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Suite 105, East Tower
Markham ON L3R 0B8
Cities we service and get patients from includes:
Toronto, Markham, North York, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Ajax, Pickering, Etobicoke, Mississauga