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From Patients

"When I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea, I thought that my only option was CPAP therapy. I was so happy when my doctor told me that I could have a dental appliance instead. And I was even happier when I got my SUAD™ Device! With The SUAD™ Device not only was I able to sleep all night but so was my wife since she no longer had to put up with my once uncontrollable snoring. The SUAD™ Device is comfortable and stands up to its word."

Ryan C.

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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Signs, Causes and Treatment

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by complete or partial cessations of breathing during sleep. The cause is a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort, and snoring is common.

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What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder (illness) described best as abnormal breathing, even pauses in breathing during sleep. Pauses in breathing is called Apnea. The pauses can last from a few seconds to a few moments. During these pauses, the body is deprived of oxygen and can cause or exacerbate a host of other dangerous medical conditions.

The Three Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) found in 84% of cases, is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep, causing a blockage of the airway and snoring.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) found in 0.4% of cases, is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, rather than an airway obstruction. CSA occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea found in 15% of cases, is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

The gaps in breathing occur between 5 to over 100 times per hour depending on the severity of the condition and typically last between 20 and 40 seconds. In some cases, breathing can even stop for up to two minutes at a time. During each lapse in breathing, oxygen levels in the blood drop.

When the brain registers the lack of oxygen in the body, it jolts the body to wake up. This reopens the airway but also interrupts sleep. A gasp or choking sound can often be heard as breathing resumes. The person will typically fall back asleep with no memory of being woken up which makes sleep apnea hard to recognize. The condition is typically identified by spouses or family members who notice heavy snoring and pauses in breathing.

The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstuctive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When you sleep, the soft tissue and muscles in your mouth and throat relax, causing your airway to become smaller. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses and blocks airflow into the lungs. This can occur frequently throughout the night and for long periods of time.

Make an appointment

Make an appointment online or call (425) 771-3266 today and ask about Oral Appliances for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that are safe, effective and easy to use.  Dr. Streit and the team at Seattle Sleep Medicine are recognized experts on providing Oral Appliance alternatives to CPAP.  Oral Appliances are effective and can help save lives.

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