Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. It can last for several seconds to several minutes and may occur by definition at least five times an hour. There are three forms of apnea; central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), and complex or mixed sleep apnea (combination of the previous two forms). It is estimated, according to the Sleep Apnea Association, that over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea with 80% of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed.
Common effects of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, a slower reaction time and vision problems. It may increase risk for driving accidents and work related accidents. If not treated, other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic heart failure stroke and other cardiovascular problems may occur.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is an oral appliance called a CPAP machine. While effective in most cases, some are unable to tolerate it and may benefit from a more comfortable jaw-alignment oral appliance. The purpose of this appliance is to re-align the jaw thus repositioning the tongue forward and out of the throat to allow for a clear airway. This helps deliver more oxygen to the body and as a result you wake up feeling more rested and energetic.
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