Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which a person is unable to breathe normally while asleep. Typically, a person with sleep apnea has no trouble breathing while awake, but cannot breathe well when asleep. The difficulty is not easily recognized because the person with sleep apnea is asleep when the pauses in breathing occur. Sleep apnea is dangerous because it increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. If you have sleep apnea, treatment is important. While there are several options for treating sleep apnea, the “gold-standard” treatment is the use of a medical device to keep the airway open during sleep. These devices are typically referred to as “CPAP” or “BiPAP” machines.
For many people with sleep apnea, adjusting to “life with CPAP” is a challenge. Although the person may know how important treatment of sleep apnea is to their health, getting used to sleeping with the CPAP machine on may prevent the person from achieving the health benefits he or she is seeking. Getting used to a CPAP machine is just like breaking in a new pair of hiking boots. It takes time. Even for people who are “claustrophobic”, there are treatments available to help them “ease into” the new habit of using CPAP to treat sleep apnea.
If you have sleep apnea and would like help getting used to your CPAP machine or dental appliance, I will work with you and your physician to improve your ability to benefit from the treatment that has been suggested for you.
In addition, we will work on ways to cope with sleep apnea and to improve your health and well-being while living with sleep apnea.
In my practice, this process typically begins with a 1-2 session comprehensive evaluation of your sleep complaint. The treatment typically involves 5-8 additional sessions, carried out over a 3-5 month period.
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