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Patient Education

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder with fairly benign symptoms—loud snoring at night, and morning headaches or daytime bouts of sleepiness. The cause? Intermittent periods throughout sleep when an individual actually stops breathing.

Breathing cessation, or apnea, lasts from seconds to nearly a minute. When breathing resumes—the brain senses lack of oxygen and wakes you up—snoring is loud, sometimes explosive. In the morning, the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood causes headaches. And the lack of deep, relaxing sleep has you drowsy, and usually grouchy, during the day.

During sleep apnea, the upper air passages in the mouth and throat obstruct (no one is sure why). One form of treatment is wearing an acrylic appliance during sleep to keep air passages open. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and brings blessed sleep.

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea—your partner will let you know about the snoring—we’d like to discuss it with you. Patients in our program find the change in the quality of their sleep, and their waking life, like night and day.

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