Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. These interruptions in breathing can occur multiple times throughout the night, leading to fragmented sleep and disrupted breathing patterns. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious health consequences and negatively impact overall quality of life. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about sleep apnea, including its causes, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment options.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea in Skokie, IL is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated episodes of breathing pauses or shallow breathing during sleep. These pauses, known as apneas, can last for several seconds to minutes and may occur multiple times throughout the night. There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

The most common form of sleep apnea, OSA, occurs when the muscles in the throat relax excessively during sleep, causing the airway to become partially or completely blocked.

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Less common than OSA, CSA occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles responsible for breathing, resulting in a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The underlying causes of sleep apnea can vary depending on the type of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is typically caused by physical obstructions or abnormalities in the upper airway, such as excess throat tissue, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow airway, or obesity. Factors such as aging, genetics, and anatomical variations may also contribute to the development of OSA.

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

CSA is often associated with underlying medical conditions or disturbances in the central nervous system, such as heart failure, stroke, brainstem injury, or certain medications that affect respiratory control.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Several factors may increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, including:

  • Obesity

Excess body weight, particularly fat deposits around the neck and throat, can increase the risk of airway obstruction and contribute to OSA.

  • Age

Sleep apnea becomes more common with age, as muscle tone in the throat tends to decrease and the risk of obesity and other contributing factors increases.

  • Gender

Men are at higher risk of sleep apnea than women, although the risk for women increases after menopause.

  • Family History

A family history of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders may increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

  • Smoking

Smoking can increase inflammation and fluid retention in the airway, contributing to airway narrowing and obstruction.

  • Alcohol and Sedative Use

Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles in the throat, increasing the risk of airway collapse and obstructive events during sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may include:

  • Loud or Disruptive Snoring

Snoring is a hallmark symptom of sleep apnea, particularly in OSA.

  • Pauses in Breathing

Episodes of breathing pauses or gasping for air during sleep. 

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Chronic fatigue, drowsiness, or difficulty staying awake during the day.

  • Morning Headaches

Headaches upon waking that may be attributed to disrupted sleep patterns or oxygen desaturation.

  • Irritability or Mood Changes

Mood swings, irritability, or difficulty concentrating due to poor sleep quality.

  • Frequent Nighttime Urination

Nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, may be a symptom of sleep apnea-related disruptions in sleep.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing sleep apnea typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a sleep specialist, which may include:

  • Medical History and Symptom Assessment

A thorough review of your medical history, sleep habits, and symptoms to identify potential risk factors and contributing factors.

  • Sleep Study (Polysomnography)

A sleep study in Skokie, IL, either conducted in a sleep laboratory or using a portable home sleep testing device, monitors various physiological parameters during sleep, including breathing patterns, oxygen levels, heart rate, and brain activity.

  • Physical Examination

Examination of the upper airway, neck circumference, and anatomical features that may contribute to airway obstruction.

  • Additional Testing

In some cases, additional tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or echocardiogram may be recommended to evaluate underlying medical conditions or anatomical abnormalities. Call us to learn more.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Treatment for sleep apnea offered by our dentist in Skokie, IL aims to improve breathing patterns during sleep, alleviate symptoms, and reduce the risk of complications. Treatment options may include:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that delivers a steady stream of pressurized air to keep the airway open during sleep.

  • Oral Appliance Therapy

Custom-fitted oral appliances in Skokie, IL, such as mandibular advancement devices, are designed to reposition the lower jaw and tongue to prevent airway collapse and improve breathing.

  • Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, alcohol reduction, and positional therapy (avoiding sleeping on the back) may help alleviate symptoms and improve sleep quality.

  • Surgery

Surgical interventions may be considered by our dentist in Skokie, IL for individuals with severe or treatment-resistant sleep apnea, particularly if there are anatomical abnormalities contributing to airway obstruction.

  • Positional Therapy

Devices or techniques designed to encourage side sleeping and prevent sleeping on the back, which can worsen airway obstruction in some individuals.


In conclusion, sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by breathing pauses or shallow breathing during sleep, which can have significant health consequences if left untreated. Understanding the causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for sleep apnea is essential for effectively managing the condition and improving overall quality of life. If you suspect you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, it's important to seek evaluation and guidance.

Experience the difference at Krueger Dental Associates! Discover personalized care, advanced treatments, and a commitment to your oral health. Schedule your appointment today at our Skokie, IL, location. Call us at (847) 328-1180 to take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile!

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