Obstructive sleep apnea makes it difficult to live life to the fullest by putting you in a state of constant sleep deprivation. Despite this, it’s common to suffer silently for years before receiving a definitive diagnosis. Sleep apnea can cause dozens or even hundreds of pauses in breathing, but even though these pauses jolt your body out of deep, restorative sleep, you’re unlikely to have any recollection of them upon waking. Dr. Golia specializes in treating sleep apnea so you can finally get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the airway relax and block the flow of oxygen. The telltale sign of sleep apnea is pauses in breathing while sleeping, but unless someone else observes this as it happens, you won't know about it unless you wake up gasping for air or feeling as if you’re choking. This means sleep apnea is often diagnosed by the following related symptoms:
- Morning headaches, sore throats, and dry mouth
- Never feeling well-rested upon waking, even with eight or more hours of sleep
- Persistent exhaustion throughout the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression
- Trouble focusing at work or in school
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend that you get a sleep study to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
We all need at least eight hours of sleep each day for our mental and physical health. Sleep is important for your emotional well-being, too, which is why you feel tired, angry, and easily overwhelmed when you’re sleep deprived. Your work performance may decline as a result of untreated sleep apnea, you may have difficulty meeting family obligations, and you’re even at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.
Obstructive sleep apnea can also have serious long-term health consequences, including an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. There’s a link between sleep apnea and high levels of cortisol and increased blood pressure, which is a sign that your body is under stress.
Best Sleep Apnea Treatment
The most well-known sleep apnea treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, but this isn’t necessarily the best solution for everyone, particularly those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Many patients find CPAP machines uncomfortable, so much so that they may interfere with their sleep.
Dr. Golia offers oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, which involves a custom-made oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw and tongue to engage the soft tissues and prevent them from relaxing and blocking the airway. Patients find that these appliances are more comfortable, easier to clean, and better for travel than CPAP machines. For many people, OAT is an effective treatment option that allows them to avoid CPAP therapy.
Learn More About Sleep Apnea
Do you suspect that you have obstructive sleep apnea? Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are looking for an alternative to a CPAP machine? Contact us today at 203-248-7400 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.