Mason City (641) 423-0064

St. Ansgar (641) 736-4302

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

For many people, the culprit is often obstructive sleep apnea. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 12 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea – a condition in which the throat muscles relax during sleep allowing the airway to become blocked by the tongue, throat or tonsils, or in some cases causing the airway to completely collapse.

If you have sleep apnea, as your brain recognizes a lack of oxygen it will either tell you to catch your breath (you won’t even wake up), or it may wake you up by causing you to gasp for air. When this happens over and over all night long and your sleep is severely interrupted, the consequences can lead to a variety of serious health problems – including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Diagnosis is usually done at a sleep center such as Midwest Sleep Services and Mercy Sleep Services. Once you’ve been diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options available including oral appliance therapy, continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), or surgery. Oral appliance therapy (where an appliance holds the jaw forward to maintain an open airway during sleep) is the least invasive and works best for mild to moderate sleep apnea – many of our patients find this therapy the most effective solution.


Finding Effective Solutions

We’ll start by completing a Patient Questionnaire and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This will help us review the following items and allow us to best assess effective treatment options for you.

  •       Your quality of sleep and sleep positions
  •       Changes in your daily life, including drowsiness and headaches
  •       Medical conditions
  •       Past treatment or sleep studies
  •       History of TMJ problems

We’ll also do a thorough physical examination of your mouth and throat to determine what other factors may be involved in your sleep apnea issues. Once we’ve analyzed all of the information, we’ll spend some time talking about the options available to you. Based on the seriousness of your sleep apnea, we’ll outline treatment choices that will best fit with your individual needs – and customize an ongoing treatment plan so that you can get the quality of sleep you need to lead a healthy and productive life.

If you’re concerned about your chronic fatigue and the possibility that sleep apnea may be the culprit, or you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are ready to discuss treatment options, give us a call and set up an appointment  to learn more about the latest advances in diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea.

While your life may always be fast-paced and at times stressful – you can counteract a wide variety of potential health problems simply by getting a good night’s sleep!