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Sleep Apnea

San Antonio, Texas

Sleep Apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer, five or more times per hour. The throat collapses, blocking the airway. Dr. Hale in San Antonio, Texas, has been treating sleep apnea for many years now and has dealt with many clusters of its symptoms. Sleep apnea, left untreated, can kill. Because it reduces the oxygen delivered to the brain, it can cause a multitude of problems ranging from merely aggravating to seriously affecting your health – and your life. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t realize it, since they’re asleep when it happens. Their bed partner will notice before they do.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea affects more than 20 million Americans of all ages. The ill-effects result from (a) insufficient sleep, and (b) insufficient oxygen in the brain. It is often not thought of when a sufferer complains of its many symptoms:

  • Tiredness and irritability resulting from loss of sleep
  • Heavy snoring
  • Mood swings
  • Problems at work, in school or in your personal life
  • Falling asleep during the day (even more dangerous, falling asleep while driving)
  • Headaches (which can also be a symptom of TMJ/TMD)
  • Sore throat due to mouth drying out during sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
  • Depression
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Stroke
  • Heart problems
  • Impotence

What Causes Sleep Apnea?
A smaller-than-normal airway may be inherited, and sleep apnea has been found to run in families. Anatomy of the throat and mouth area may include an enlarged tongue, deviated septum (the divider between nostrils), or a receding chin which allows for less space. About half of sleep apnea sufferers are obese. Alcohol or sedative use at bedtime can relax the throat and tongue muscles too much – in normal sleep these muscles keep the airway open.

Treatment Options
There are two main types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form and it can be treated and successfully managed.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea is a rare brain malfunction and needs to be ruled out by a medical doctor.

When you have been fully diagnosed, Dr. Hale will design treatments for the type you have and the specific way it manifests in your case.

Mild sleep apnea can be treated by behavioral treatments, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills at bedtime
  • Changing your sleep positions
  • Keeping more regular sleep hours

More severe sleep apnea is given physical treatments and perhaps surgery. There are custom-made dental appliances that work in conjunction with or as an alternative to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment, a commonly prescribed therapy by physicians. These appliances are worn during sleep and allow continuous, easy breathing if you suffer from Obstructive sleep apnea.

Feel free to discuss with Dr. Hale any concerns you have regarding sleep apnea. He and his staff in their San Antonio, Texas office have been able to help many people return to a good night’s sleep. He will answer any questions you may have and may ask you about certain symptoms you are experiencing. Your good health is his top priority, and he and his staff are here to help you. Contact us today.