WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is when breathing stops during sleep for more than 10 seconds at a time, five or more times per hour, accompanied by a blood oxygen level drop. The word “apnea” comes from the Greek – “a” which means “lack of” and “pnea” means “to breathe.”

 

Without you even realizing it, your sleep could be disrupted hundreds of times in just one night. When you fail to enter or spend enough time in the deep, restorative sleep stage – no thanks to sleep apnea – it can wreak havoc on all areas of your life.

Dr. Mika Miyamoto, DMD, at Moonlight Sleep REMedies in Portland, OR, has helped countless patients across the Pacific Northwest get rid of sleep-related breathing disorders (including sleep apnea). If you think you may have sleep apnea, please contact us to evaluate your symptoms.

 

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep by causing you to stop breathing multiple times during the night. In severe cases, these interruptions can occur hundreds of times, significantly reducing the oxygen that reaches your brain and the rest of your body.

When oxygen levels drop, your brain takes immediate action. It momentarily wakes you up to restart your breathing. These wake-ups are incredibly brief, often just a couple of seconds, so you likely won’t even remember them in the morning. However, this doesn’t mean they are harmless. Each pause in breathing means your body gets less oxygen than it needs.

The impact on your health directly correlates with how frequently these pauses occur. The severity of sleep apnea is based on the number of times you stop breathing per hour:

Mild

The breathing pauses happen 5 to 14 times within an hour. It may sound minor, but even mild sleep apnea can disrupt your sleep cycle and affect your day-to-day energy levels and focus.

Moderate

The interruptions increase to 15-29 times an hour. This level can have a more noticeable impact on your health, affecting everything from your mood to your cardiovascular health.

Severe

This is the most concerning level, where you stop breathing 30 or more times per hour. At this frequency, the risk of life-long health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, escalates drastically.

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Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea comes in three different forms: Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles in the throat relax too much and block the airway. In central sleep apnea, the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. Some people also suffer from mixed sleep apnea, which is a bit of both.

To determine whether or not you have sleep apnea, notice how you feel throughout the day. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, reach out to us for further evaluation:

  • Loud and persistent snoring (accompanied by silent pauses, then gasps or choking sounds)
  • Feeling excessively sleepy during the day
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Waking up frequently to urinate, waking up gasping for air, or feeling like you are choking
  • Feeling irritable or depressed
  • Finding it hard to focus or suffering from memory problems
  • High blood pressure that is difficult to control
  • Excessive sweating during the night
  • A lower sex drive
  • Sore throat or dry mouth after waking up
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Someone noticed that you stop breathing for short periods during sleep

What to Expect During Your Appointment

Your first appointment at Moonlight Sleep REMedies begins with Dr. Miyamoto taking a close look at your medical history and symptoms. After this initial consultation appointment, Dr. Miyamoto will examine your head, neck, and throat to understand your condition better. We use this information and your sleep test results to figure out exactly what is going on and how we can best tackle your sleep apnea.

You will also undergo CBCT and Eccovision® scans so we can find the precise obstructions (if any) in your sinuses and nasal passages. The scan is then sent to a board-certified radiologist for an accurate and complete diagnosis.

We work closely with your other healthcare providers to find a treatment plan that is effective and comfortable for you. Dr. Miyamoto uses oral appliance therapy, NightLase® laser therapy, and myofunctional therapy to treat all obstructive sleep apnea cases, regardless of the cause of obstruction.

    Our most popular treatment is oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a small, specially made device that fits in your mouth, a bit like how a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer does.

    It works by adjusting the position of your lower jaw and tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep, which helps you breathe better and reduces snoring and sleep apnea. Each device is custom-made to fit you perfectly. This approach works well for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea and some with severe cases.

    Dr. Miyamoto will review all the findings from your physical evaluation with you, discuss the pros and cons of different treatment options, and see if an oral appliance could be right for you. If it is, she will help you pick the best one for your needs and ensure it fits you well. Then, we will check in with you regularly over the next 3-6 months to ensure everything is going smoothly with your treatment.

    After that, we will see you at least once a year to see how you are doing and make any necessary adjustments. We aim to ensure your treatment works well for you in the long run.

      Have Questions About Insurance Coverage and Financing? Contact Us Today!

      Did you know that sleep apnea therapy and oral appliances are covered by medical insurance and NOT by dental insurance? That’s because sleep apnea IS a medical condition. We take most medical insurances, including Medicare and Tricare. Our staff has experience working with insurance companies on behalf of our patients to ensure they get the most out of their benefits. You can also utilize your FSA/HSA account for your sleep apnea treatment. For those who need financial assistance, we offer several payment plans. We always suggest treatments that improve your sleep and overall health.