Sleep Apnea

Welcome to Sleep Apnea Center of Orange County

Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of more than 12 million Americans who are affected by Sleep Apnea.

Don’t let the hidden danger of Sleep Apnea affects your overall health by scheduling a dental appointment at Aria Dental to see Orange County's top dentist, Dr. Maryam Horiyat.  Call (949) 364-9600 or in Mission Viejo, California to schedule your Sleep Apnea consultation.

Sleep Apnea: A Secret Killer  

Sleep Apnea (in Spanish)

What Is Sleep Apnea? A Hidden Danger & Secret Killer

Sleep Apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with Sleep Apnea don't remember it, and many believe they are getting a good night's sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with Sleep Apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.

What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of Sleep Apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Are There Different Types of Sleep Apnea?

There are three categories of Sleep Apnea. The most common is called obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Less common is central Sleep Apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don't receive the proper signal from the brain. And some people suffer from "mixed" or "complex" sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central.

What Are Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone — regardless of gender or age — can suffer from Sleep Apnea. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Central Sleep Apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep Apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by Sleep Apnea can lead to problems at work or school, as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep Apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from Sleep Apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Treatments for Sleep Apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral — for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.

Mallampati Scores to Predict Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Mallampati I
When we look inside, if we can see the bottom of the uvula, we score that as Mallampati I since the airway is very open.

Mallampati II
When we look inside, if the tongue is covering part of the uvula, we score that as Mallampati II since the airway is mostly open.

Mallampati III
When we look inside, if the tongue is covering most but not all of the uvula, we score that as Mallampati III since the airway is mostly closed.

Mallampati IV
When we look inside, if the tongue is covering all of the uvula, we score that as Mallampati IV since the airway is very closed.

Sleep Apnea Is a Hidden Danger

If it is not treated properly it can lead to a number of dangerous side effects such as heart attack, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue, risk of car accident, and impotence. 

What should I do If I Suspect That Someone in My Family Suffers from Sleep Apnea?

Contact our practice, and we can refer you to a Sleep Apnea specialist. The specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the precise extent of the problem and can prescribe appropriate treatment. Depending on your situation, treatment may involve an oral device that we can custom-create for you.

Factors Affecting the Development of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If you have these symptoms, it is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor. Timely advice will prevent negative consequences for your health.

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