If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and waken many times during the night to gasp for air, your health is potentially threatened. The body needs adequate amounts of both sleep and oxygen to function optimally. If you are getting reduced amounts of both, your daily activities will be affected and eventually your general health.
It is thought that most people with sleep apnea (about 43 million in the U.S.) are undiagnosed. If you do not know whether you suffer from sleep apnea, but you know you snore every night, you are potentially at risk for OSA and it would be wise to be evaluated at Rochester Advanced Dentistry. There are increasing numbers of health professionals who work with OSA patients, referring them to the specialists they may need.
The ApneaLink™ is a simple and cost-effective tool which you can use each night to monitor your body as it sleeps.
How Does the Home Sleep Screening Work?
Dr. Doolin and Dr. Haddad will strap a small device around your chest. It is battery-powered and has a nasal cannula (tube) which records your breathing. Automatically it comes up with an Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI), which is a measurement of the severity of your sleep apnea. The AHI combines information on (a) your blood oxygen level and (b) the number of times your sleep is disrupted by low oxygen in relation to the number of hours you are asleep.
The AHI also keeps track of your snoring and after you have woken up it generates a report with an overall Risk Indicator. It sends this report to your healthcare professional for analysis. Based on this information, you can be referred for further evaluation and treatment.
The ApneaLink can give more detailed screening data if it also includes an oximeter. An oximeter measures your blood oxygen level more precisely than the AHI described above. It gives SpO2 information, which is the Saturation Percentage of oxygen in the red blood cells. A normal percentage is 96%, indicating that a good amount of oxygen is being received in the red blood cells and the blood is being efficiently pumped around the body.
If your percentage is significantly lower than 96%, this is important to know as soon as possible. In everyone this percentage figure goes up and down continually and the ApneaLink with Oximetry yields a chart showing how your percentage rises and falls as you sleep.
Who Can Benefit from the ApneaLink?
The ApneaLink is used by sleep laboratories, homecare providers and clinicians to gather data on a patient’s sleep physiology in order to plan treatments for improving it. Such patients may be at home, or in a hospital for severe breathing problems or for an upcoming surgery. Your general doctor may provide you with an ApneaLink to get objective information about your blood oxygen for the purpose of referring you to a specialist.
If you know that you chronically snore at night, it would be wise to be evaluated for OSA. Our dentists Dr. Doolin and Dr. Haddad approach sleep apnea and snoring from the dental viewpoint, and can equip you with an ApneaLink for further evaluation. Dental work is often part of treatment after OSA has been diagnosed. If a misaligned bite is part of the problem, we can address that.
For more information on ways to treat sleep apnea, please see our pages on the Tongue Stabilizing Device and the SomnoMed MAS™.
To schedule a personal consultation please call (248) 656-2020 or email our Michigan dentistry office today.