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Sleep Apnea – Melbourne, FL

Sleep Better & Stay Healthy

Woman sleeping with sleep apnea in Viera

Many people dismiss snoring as a minor nuisance. Aside from causing rifts in relationships, snoring can also indicate a sleep-breathing disorder known as sleep apnea. The result of blocked airways, sleep apnea depletes the body of needed oxygen and creates many potentially dangerous side effects. Patients with sleep apnea may be at a greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and premature death in addition to symptoms like drowsiness and unproductivity. Fortunately, treatment for sleep apnea and snoring is often simple and straightforward.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Snoring and sleep apnea result when soft tissues, including the tongue, soft palate, and throat tissues, block the passage of air. Noisy vibrations result as the air forces its way through the narrowed passageways. Patients with sleep apnea actually stop breathing several times – even hundreds of times – throughout the night. These lapses in breath are punctuated with fits of wakefulness, which prevent the body from receiving the deep sleep required to function properly.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea can often go unnoticed because it occurs at night, however you and your partner can be on the lookout for these common warning signs:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up gasping for breath
  • Daytime Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression

The only way to know if you have sleep apnea with certainty is to get a proper diagnosis by participating in a sleep study. This can be done at home or in a lab, and it will provide you with definitive results. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that around 80% of cases go untreated, which is why it’s ultimately up to you to seek help.

Risk Factors

While anyone can be affected by sleep apnea, you may have a higher risk if you:

  • Are male
  • Are overweight
  • Are older
  • Have a thick neck circumference
  • Have a narrow airway
  • Have family history of sleep apnea
  • Routinely smoke
  • Have high blood pressure

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Chenet will work with your primary care physician or pulmonologist to treat snoring and sleep apnea in Viera. Oftentimes, patients find relief with a custom-made oral appliance that holds the jaw and/or tongue in a position that opens the airway for easy breathing. The appliance fits comfortably in the mouth and is worn during sleep. Most patients have little trouble adjusting to the appliances and notice an immediate improvement in the quality of sleep received. The best part is that it’s easy to travel with, so you’ll never have to take breaks away from your treatment. Dr. Chenet and your physician will help you determine the best treatment available for your unique situation.

Sleep Apnea FAQs

Man lying awake in bed with alarm clock nearby

Even though sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, you are very likely to have questions about your condition as well as the kind of solutions you require. We never want you to feel like we are pushing you towards treatments that you do not understand. If you still have some concerns after reviewing the common questions listed below, write them down so that you can let Dr. Chenet know during your sleep apnea consultation.

Is sleep apnea genetic?

It can be to a certain degree. If any of your blood relatives had obstructive sleep apnea, you are generally more likely to develop it yourself, though scientists have yet to determine which specific genes are responsible for this link. Furthermore, obesity – one of the biggest risk factors for sleep apnea – can have genetic causes. However, environmental and lifestyle-related risk factors are slightly more influential on obstructive sleep apnea.

I think I might have sleep apnea, but I am not sure. What should I do?

It’s certainly difficult to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea by the symptoms alone. That’s why a sleep study needs to be performed to diagnose the disorder first. You can talk to Dr. Chenet or your primary care physician about the steps you need to take to have a sleep study performed. Remember, the vast majority of sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed, so it’s important to be proactive about having sleep apnea treated even if you’re not completely sure.

I snore a lot. Does that mean I have sleep apnea?

It very well could. Frequent, loud snoring is one of the hallmarks of sleep apnea, especially if it’s accompanied by breathing pauses during your sleep (which is likely to be observed by a partner). Of course, snoring has other potential causes as well, so a sleep study will ultimately be required.

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is divided into three major categories: obstructive sleep apnea that occurs when the airway is physically blocked, central sleep apnea that’s a result of the brain’s failure to control the breathing muscles, and complex sleep apnea that is essentially a combination of the first two categories. Oral appliance therapy is recommended for obstructive sleep apnea, which is by far the most common form of the disorder.

Are oral appliances more effective than CPAP machines?

In terms of pure effectiveness, CPAP machines are typically more suitable for the most severe cases of sleep apnea; oral appliances are more suitable for mild to moderate cases. That being said, though, many patients find themselves unable to tolerate noisy, uncomfortable CPAP equipment. An oral appliance can be an alternative to CPAP therapy that’s easier to adjust to and more convenient to use.

Does insurance cover sleep apnea treatment?

Medical insurance almost always covers all or part of the cost of an oral appliance for sleep apnea. Even though the appliance is often provided by a dentist, it usually falls under medical insurance instead of dental insurance because sleep apnea is a medical issue. Our team can review your benefits with you to determine your out-of-pocket costs for sleep apnea therapy.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!