Sleep apnea is a serious condition affecting millions of Americans, but it wasn’t mentioned in any medical literature until 1965. We’ve come a long way since then, and sleep apnea is our specialty at SLEEPwell in Longview.
The symptoms of sleep apnea, however, were known before it was recognized and given a name. In its most common form, it involves an obstruction in the airway during sleep. This is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and because of it, the sleeper’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly. The brain is deprived of oxygen.
There are two other forms:
- Central sleep apnea is when the brain doesn’t communicate properly with the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea is when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
But OSA is easily the most common form of sleep apnea.
The big breakthrough in treatment came in the early 1980s with the introduction of continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP for short. CPAP is an appliance that directs a steady flow of air through a mask worn during sleep. It’s highly effective, but even though more comfortable models of the CPAP mask have been developed, a lot of people can’t stand wearing it.
A newer treatment is an oral device that repositions the jaw during sleep. It looks a lot like an ordinary mouth guard, and many sleep apnea patients find it more comfortable than CPAP. It’s also very effective.
At SLEEPwell in Longview we can treat sleep apnea. We have treated people throughout Gladewater, Hallsville, and New Diana. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment today!