Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

  • Sleep apnea is a type of breathing disorder that occurs during sleep
  • When you fall asleep your body relaxes and your upper airway can close partially-usually snoring, fully which is apnea
  • When it closes fully you stop breathing which causes blood OX to decrease to an unhealthy level and the brain to wake. Inject adrenalin into the bloodstream
  • Increases muscle tone so you can breath
  • Then you sleep, relax and the cycle starts over again
  • It is also a syndrome that continues to get worse with age

What are the symptoms?

  • Sometimes there are no symptoms or they are so subtle they go un-noticed
  • It is estimated that 20M people in the country are not DX
  • Loud snoring
  • Noticed breathing
  • Awaken choking
  • EDS
  • Morning headaches
  • Unrefreshed sleep
  • Irritability

Why do I need to treat it if I don’t have any symptoms?

  • Not sleeping well and not breathing well is a BAD combination
  • Increased risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Increase the risk for diabetes
  • Increased risk for a motor vehicle or industrial accident
  • To eliminate snoring
  • Helps with weight loss
  • If we sleep better, we feel better
  • Treating it mitigates health risks-live longer with fewer problems

How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?

  • The only way to find out is to have a sleep study done
  • Your medical insurance company will likely pay for the test IF they feel it is justified
  • Sometimes you have to go to a sleep lab and sometimes it can be done at home

What is the cost for the devices we make?

  • It depends. It depends on your unique medical situation, oral condition as well as your medical insurance situation. It can range from zero to 2000 dollars
  • It is most often covered by medical insurance, at least partially
  • Our staff is trained and has years of experience in helping you obtain the maximum benefit available from your insurance. It’s a long involved process but we do it for you as part of the cost

So what does the device actually do?

  • As I said, when you fall asleep the muscles around your airway relax and the airway can partially or fully close causing heavy snoring or apnea.
  • The devices are FDA approved, custom devices that fit snugly, but comfortably on your teeth to move the jaw slightly forward and slightly open.
  • This opens your airway to allow natural, healthy breathing
  • The devices are fully adjustable. Together, we find the best jaw position for each patient.

What are the options to treat sleep apnea?

  • The options are CPAP therapy- where a machine breaths for you. The ability to comply to this is 30%, as it is cumbersome and difficult to wear.
  • Oral Appliance Therapy which is what we do here at Cape Cod Sleep Solutions
  • Surgery- which has a low success rate statistically and should be a last ditch approach

How successful are the devices?

  • For snoring statistics show a 95% success rate in at least reducing if not eliminating snoring
  • OUR experience over five years of treating the disease is that apnea symptoms are significantly reduced 90% of the time. Success rates vary, but we usually meet the physicians’ standards 75% of the time.
  • Versus not treating the disease, the oral appliance is at least helping, sometimes partially, sometimes fully
  • Compared OAT (Oral Appliance Therapy) directly to CPAP
    • Snoring-OAT as good or better
    • AHI (apnea index)- CPAP better slightly
    • Sleep quality/architecture- OAT as good
    • Daytime sleepiness- OAT as good
    • Blood oxygen level improvement-CPAP is 3% better
    • Adherence/compliance-OAT is better
    • Side effect: OAT is better

How long do the devices last?

  • As with anything else in your mouth, it varies.
  • We have some patients that have had the same one for more than five years.
  • Other patients are hard on them and they need replacement after a couple of years.
  • Most devices are warrantied for 1-3 years, depending on the manufacturer and type of appliance.
  • Insurances will usually cover for a new one after three years.

Who gets sleep apnea?

  • Anyone can get it. It is not necessarily only in obese people
  • Men have it more often than women, until post-menopause where the statistics even out
  • All ages get it, its most often an anatomical (shape) problem in the patients’ upper airway