Serving all of Central and Western Montana ~ Located in Missoula

Sleep Disorders

Obstrutive Sleep Apnea (OSA)- A silent killer!


Sleep Disorders

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a commonly misdiagnosed medical problem. A sleep disorder can range from insomnia and snoring disorders to sleep interruptions that prevent one from experiencing a normal rhythm of the sleep cycle. These disturbances can also be associated with oxygen depression which can trigger other serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes!

Other associated problems include a decrease in work productivity and possible increases in motor vehicle accidents due to compromised reaction times and falling asleep.

Causes of the problem include airway restrictions from weight gain, anatomical problems which restrict the airway, to neurological conditions which alter the sleep pattern such as restless leg syndrome (leg spasms and twitching ).

Treatment for these problems can range from simple habit changes such as sleep position, caffeine reduction, medications and surgical procedures to prevent airway collapse during sleep. Other treatment modalities include dental appliances to hold the jaw forward. These appliances are indicated only if the sleep disorder demonstrates a mild to moderate level of oxygen depression or interruptions. The most effective treatment is wearing a continuous pressure mask (cpap). Although this is the most effective treatment to manage the problem, the level of compliance is lower because of the difficulty many people experience with the external hardware . Surgical solutions include, sinus and throat procedures such as tonsillectomy and palatal surgery to clear the airways, to jaw advancement to improve the airway opening.

A thorough medical evaluation and frequently a sleep study are needed to diagnose the severity and extent of the problem. An Epworth Sleep Questionnaire can help identify if you should consider a medical evaluation. If you score 10 or above an evaluation may be worthwhile for you.