People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times per night, sometimes for a minute or longer.
Sleep apnea affects about 18 million people of all ages in the U.S. It takes three forms: obstructive, central and mixed.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form, occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking (obstructing) the person’s airway.
The airway remains open in central sleep apnea, but the brain does not send signals to the muscles involved in breathing.
Mixed sleep apnea combines aspects of the obstructive and central types.
A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring, especially snoring interspersed with gasps or lack of breathing, although the two are not always related.
Sleep apnea sufferers are roused from sleep briefly to resume proper breathing, disrupting and lowering the quality of a person’s rest. Consequently, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems. If left untreated, it can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, headaches, and daytime fatigue, leading to job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.
Dr. Brian Raskin is well-versed in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. He custom-fits special devices called TAP appliances to treat his patients' sleep apnea. Short for Thornton Adjustable Positioners, TAP appliances consist of two plastic pieces that fit over the upper and lower teeth and hold the lower jaw forward during sleep to help keep the airway open. Dr. Raskin also works closely with a sleep doctor to diagnose each patient's problem.
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea. If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, talk with Dr. Raskin. He will discuss which treatment is right for you.