Sleep Apnea and the Advanced Lightwire Functional Appliance
Sleep-disordered breathing (snoring, obstructive sleep apnea) affects an estimated 24% or more of adults and contributes to such life-threatening conditions as hypertension and high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, depression and obesity. It is also associated with serious motor vehicle, work- related and at home accidents.
Characterized by recurring cessations or reductions in breathing during sleep, sleep-disordered breathing involves loss of the normal “awake” or “upright” tone and the narrowness and position of the upper and lower jaws affecting the oropharyngeal musculature. In some instances, the tongue falls back into the oropharynx and obstructs the airway because of the narrowness of the jaws.
Sleep-disordered breathing results from obstructions and collapse of the upper airway, which can be identified visually upon oral examination and by examining side view x-ray images of the head and neck areas.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea and are using a CPAP machine, it is very likely that you have a very narrow airway space. Normal airway space is measured between 12 to 15 millimeters (mm). Sleep studies may not look at the airway space of the patient, instead measuring the intervals when you stop breathing. The root cause of this problem is usually the patient's airway space.
Excess weight and obesity have been attributed as a main cause of sleep apnea so it is important to evaluate the patient's airway space. One of the most obvious symptoms is the individual not having a good lip seal because of being unable to breath through the nose.
The CPAP delivers oxygen through the patient's nose, which helps and is generally considered the gold standard for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, does not address the root cause of the problem, which is the narrow airway.
Quality of life is substantially effected by sleep-disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea have twice the risk of experiencing a heart attack and a stroke. People who snore or know they have a sleep problem should seek help immediately. And, if you have a loved one or friend who has sleep problems, you should encourage them to seek help.