Sleep Apnea Common Questions
Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, Michigan
Sleep apnea affects your physical well-being during the day and prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which sleep is interrupted by recurring pauses in breathing. The pauses can occur anywhere between 5 to 30 or more times an hour and result in extreme tiredness the next day.
The two types of sleep apnea are obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common. In obstructive sleep apnea, the throat muscles relax to the point that the airway is blocked. Your breathing is interrupted, causing you to awaken from deep sleep. Most likely, you will not notice waking, but the recurring disturbances to your sleep cycle will cause you to feel overly sleepy the following day.
Central sleep apnea is less common. Central sleep apnea is a disorder of the central nervous system. The brain fails to properly signal breathing muscles during this type of sleep apnea. The dental devices mentioned on this page are not a treatment for central sleep apnea.
The only way to know if you have sleep apnea is to receive a sleep test. Specialist Dr. Jerry Mulder can provide a referral to a physician after your initial screening.
You should schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulder at his Grand Rapids office if you, a family member or bed partner notice the following symptoms:
- Long pauses in breathing at night, often followed by choking or gasping
- Excessive drowsiness during the day
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Loud snoring
- Restless and fitful sleep
- Bed partner has trouble sleeping
If you experience the signs of sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. A physician will review your family and medical history, and perform a medical exam; if it seems probable that you have Sleep Apnea, you will be referred to a sleep specialist. Dr. Mulder can provide an initial screening and tell you whether you should see a sleep specialist. The sleep specialist will decide if you should undergo a sleep study, which will record your breathing while you sleep. Some sleep studies require a polysomnogram, or PSG, to record what is occurring while you sleep. A PSG may be used while you sleep in a sleep lab, or the specialist may provide a monitor for your use at home.
Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular strain. Obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of stroke. Another complication caused by Sleep Apnea is excessive tiredness throughout the day. Other problems include impotency, headaches, depression and mood swings.
Dr. Mulder can provide an initial screening and offer a referral. Contact Dr. Mulder’s office today to schedule an appointment.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. The relaxed muscles cause your airway to narrow and your breathing stops momentarily. As you stop breathing, your brain signals you to wake up, causing excessive drowsiness the following day.
The following factors may put you at risk for sleep apnea:
- Increasing age
- Male gender
- Anatomic abnormalities of upper airway
- Family history
- Alcohol or sedative use
If you are not able to use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), then a dental device (also called an oral appliance) is a good alternative for mild to moderate sleep apnea. To determine if a dental device is the right treatment for you, set up a screening with Dr. Mulder in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
If your sleep apnea does not require the use of CPAP, Dr. Mulder is committed to finding the most effective and comfortable dental device for your treatment solution. The oral appliances that Dr. Mulder uses are adjustable and customized. The devices hold the lower jaw forward during sleep to prevent throat muscles and the tongue from blocking the airway.