Treating Sleep Apnea
If you have ever suffered from sleep apnea or have a partner who does, you know that it can be a disconcerting problem, for both you and for them. Dr. Cindee Melashenko has been treating patients with sleep apnea for years. Ask Cindee if this treatment might be right for you.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway collapses, blocking airflow into the lungs. The harder one tries to breathe, the tighter the airway seals. This airway obstruction persists until the brain partially awakens the person, unconsciously closing the jaw and returning the tongue and throat to a normal position.
The sleep apnea cycle - falling asleep, jaw relaxing, airway collapsing, unconsciously awaking with a gasp, falling back asleep - can repeat itself 50 or more times per hour during the night. With a blocked passageway, one does not receive enough oxygen. Both the awakenings and oxygen deprivation can then trigger other health problems, including chronic sleepiness, headaches, depression, exhaustion, high blood pressure, and even strokes and heart attacks.
Dr. Melashenko treats sleep apnea and snoring with an appliance called a mandibular advancement appliance. This appliance holds the mandible (lower jaw) forward during sleep to prevent the tongue and soft tissues of the throat from collapsing into the airway.
By adjusting the degree to which the mandible is held forward, Dr. Melashenko can maximize both the effectiveness of the appliance and the patient's comfort.
CPAP machine. This is a noisy pressurized air unit that has a mask that the patient places over their nose at night. The machine pushes air into the mask all night to help keep enough oxygen going to the brain. Most spouses do not appreciate these and they can be challenging to port around when traveling. Some patients will have both a mandibular advancement appliance and a CPAP just for convenience.