What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?


Things like excessive daytime sleepiness, poor sleep quality, and loud snoring may indicate you have a breathing problem during sleep.  This occurs because your throat and tongue muscles relax during sleep and partially or completely block air from entering your lungs.  OSA is defined as the cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more and is more common in people as they age.  Things like aging, weight gain, large neck circumference, and alcohol consumption all increase your risk for OSA.

Why is OSA a problem?



OSA has been linked to numerous life threatening diseases.  The cessation of breathing during OSA causes blood oxygen levels to drop significantly.  This leads to the release of stress hormones thought to contribute to systemic diseases.  People with OSA have a much higher incidence of A-fib, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, obesity, depression, sexual dysfunction, and diabetes.


Options for treatment include continuous positive air pressure (CPAP), mandibular advancement therapy, surgically altering the airway, sleep positional therapy and weight loss.  Patients may benefit from one or a combination of these therapies.  


Are you at risk?

If you suspect you or your sleep partner are at risk for OSA, contact your physician or Dental Sleep Partners (970-245-1758 or dentalsleeppartners@gmail.com) to discuss your treatment options.  You can print the Epworth Sleep Scale below to find out more about your symptoms and, if at risk for sleep apnea, a sleep test may be recommended.  This may be done at a sleep lab facility or a convenient home test you can do in the comfort of your own sleep environment. 


Epworth Sleep Test

Epworth sleep test (docx)