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Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Sleep Apnea?

In its most common form, Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the back of the throat (Oropharynx), tongue and related structures relax during sleep. These structures either completely or partially block the airways causing a total or partial reduction of airflow to the lungs. Obesity is a common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Central Sleep Apnea can be a result of accident or stroke.

 

Who suffers from Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea can occur in all ages, but is primarily found among adults starting in their 30s. The

condition is most prevalent in adult males above age 49, certain ethnic groups and in the obese.  

Severely Obese males and females with age greater than 49 years are at greatest risk of Sleep

Apnea. Shift workers are also more likely to have sleep disturbances than the general population.

These can include increased daytime sleepiness and increased difficulties in falling asleep.

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are often manifested in a partner's loud and persistent snoring punctuated with

periods of silence and then gasping or snorting. The individual can experience excessive

tiredness during the waking hours, including immediately after waking up, being irritable, high

blood pressure and the tendency to doze off while at work, driving or even during conversations. 

Some patients even have trouble falling asleep.

 

What increases the risks of Sleep Apnea?

The risks of developing a common condition like Obstructive Sleep Apnea increase with being overweight, large neck size, excessive alcohol consumption and poor sleep hygiene.

 

How is it treated?

There is no single treatment option for the condition as it largely depends on the cause.  As a patient, you will undergo a sleep study followed by a review of your medical history and dental history, teeth, periodontal status, jaw joint, hygiene, radiographic examination to determine a diagnosis.  The Sleep Doctor will advise either a CPAP machine or an Oral Appliance to treat a simple snoring problem or Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Exercise and weight reduction is also advised as this has a positive impact on the patient’s perception

of daytime sleepiness, quality of life and mood state.

 

What is a sleep study?

A definitive diagnosis of Sleep Apnea can only be made by conducting a sleep study called Polysomnography (PSG) conducted during a visit to a sleep lab, usually overnight, or a home study performed with special equipment. These studies are done to determine if a patient suffers from a specific sleep disorder. A healthcare professional will monitor and record the results of your sleep to determine your condition and offer treatment options.

 

A sleep study generates several records of activity during several hours of sleep, usually about six. Generally, these records include an electroencephalogram, or EEG, measuring brain waves; an electroculogram, or EOG, measuring eye and chin movements that signal the different stages of sleep; an electrocardiogram, ECG, measuring heart rate and rhythm; chest bands that measure respiration; and additional monitors that sense oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood and record leg movement.

 

Who can diagnose if I have Sleep Apnea?

Only a trained medical professional can accurately diagnose Sleep Apnea. This is done by conducting a laboratory sleep study. The results are analysed and treatment options will be discussed.

 

If untreated, what other conditions occur?

If you’ve been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and you aren’t sleeping as well as you should, you could end up with a more serious condition including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes, sexual dysfunction or even death.

 

Does insurance cover treatment costs?

While the patient is responsible for the treatment fee, in some instances, third party insurance coverage is available. Financing is also available through a third party company.  Our staff would be pleased to discuss which options would be right for you.