What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder where the tongue and throat tissues, or other structures, not only fall back into the airway to narrow it, but completely block the air from passing through. The brain then needs to alert these muscles to unblock the airway causing disruption of sleep. This stopping breathing happens again and again throughout the night. 1 of every four Canadian adults are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea...

  • a leading cause for daytime sleepiness

  • snoring

  • awakening throughout the night

  • periodic pauses of breathing and gasping

  • restless sleep

  • difficulty concentrating, irritability, memory problems, morning headaches

  • impotence (difficulty keeping an erection), reduced sex drive

If obstructive sleep apnea remains untreated it can increase risks for serious conditions such as: 

  • stroke

  • heart attack

  • high blood pressure

  • diabetes

  • obesity

  • depression

  • decreased sexual function

  • motor vehicle collisions, work place injuries

Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment options will be discussed at your first appointment and can include: 

  • weight loss

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask)

  • oral appliances (sometimes called mouthpieces or snore guards)

  • surgery

Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is made by a sleep physician following a sleep study. Dr. Tara or your own medical doctor can make a referral for this sleep study if you are high risk for OSA. Dr. Tara works with your family physician, sleep specialist and respiratory therapist. Her practice is focused on providing dental options for snoring and sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is less common. It occurs when there is a problem with the messages the brain sends muscles to maintain breathing during sleep. Central sleep apnea is not treated with oral appliances.