Sleep Apnea

Table of Contents

sleep apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The main types of this sleep disorder are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea; the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax too much and block your airway during sleep interrupting sleep. These disruptions impair your ability to experience deep, restful phases of sleep leaving you feeling restless throughout the day.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. Certain medications, such as narcotic painkillers, and severe obesity can cause or lead to central sleep apnea. Other conditions that may cause central sleep apnea include brain infections, strokes, or conditions of the cervical spine. Contact one of our NYC allergists to determine the type of sleep apnea you may have.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap which makes it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Waking with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability

While loud snoring is often the first indication of sleep apnea, not everyone with this sleep disorder snores. Many signs of sleep apnea go unnoticed. However, it’s important to seek a diagnosis from a specialist if you awake feeling fatigued, sleepy, and irritable.

Sleep Apnea And TMJ

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) muscles run along your jaw and cheeks. When these muscles tense, it can cause headaches and other symptoms. Many people with TMJ problems also experience sleep apnea. When the airway collapses as it does with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the body’s automatic response is to push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway. This constant motion of the TMJ throughout the night can cause a lot of stress and tension in the jaw joint. 

Tension caused by inflammation due to teeth grinding is common in patients with sleep apnea. Grinding your teeth puts pressure on your TMJ muscles and can wear down your teeth. It can be noisy at night combined with sleep apnea symptoms. Our oral sleep appliances can help control teeth grinding. 

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

One of our allergists can diagnose your sleep apnea. Diagnosis is based on an evaluation of your signs and symptoms and a sleep history. In many cases, we suggest a sleep study. During this sleep study, you are hooked up to equipment that monitors the heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels. 

Many specialists refer sleep apnea patients to a sleep center to conduct the study. However, with NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, you can perform the sleep study from the comfort of your home. We make it easy and convenient to diagnose sleep apnea. Call our office at (212) 686-6321 to learn more about our at-home sleep study.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are many treatment options for sleep apnea. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in. The machine has a pump that controls the airflow and a mask that goes over your mouth, nose, or both. You may experience slight discomfort when wearing the mask to bed.

That’s why at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, we offer oral appliances to treat sleep apnea instead. Oral sleep appliances support the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open airway. You will receive a custom-fitted oral sleep appliance as soon as we diagnose your sleep apnea. You can trust our appliance to provide a more convenient and comfortable solution to your sleep disorder. Book an appointment online or call our office today to treat your sleep apnea.

[faq id=”71″]