The Types of Sleep Apnea, Common Causes, Risk Factors, and Health Effects

The Types of Sleep Apnea, Common Causes, Risk Factors, and Health Effects

Adults are very susceptible to snoring. About half of all people have snored at some time in their life. According to statistics, 25% of those who snore regularly are habitual. You might have an annoying partner or snore so much that you are unable to sleep at night. People often ignore the fact that snoring is not a good sign. Despite popular belief, snoring doesn’t mean you’re sleeping deeply. This is often an indicator of a larger problem.

Although there are many sleep disorders that can cause snoring to occur, the most common is sleep apnea. Sleep disorder is sleep apnea, which affects the throat. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the muscles at the back of your throat are unable to keep the airway open. It doesn’t result in a good night of sleep. A person may stop breathing for as long as 10 seconds, while their throat is closing. It can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn leads to poor sleep. It could be a problem if you are prone to snoring and wake up tired every morning.

It’s important to get checked if you think you may have sleep apnea. It is important to get your sleep apnea diagnosed as soon as possible so that you can begin working on eliminating it. It’s not a time for panic if you have been diagnosed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18,000,000 Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This doesn’t include all other countries. This is a very common condition. The good news is that it can be treated. You can cure it.

How can I treat sleep apnea?

There are many reasons that sleep apnea may occur in different people. Although no one can be exempt from suffering from sleep apnea (which is possible), certain people are more likely to experience it. Some risk factors that can lead to sleep apnea include, but are not limited:

  1. Upper airways for small amounts
  2. Obesity
  3. Diabetes
  4. The family history
  5. Small jaw
  6. An elongated chin
  7. Smoking
  8. Excessive alcohol use
  9. Age 40 and above
  10. Race
  11. What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

We’ve already discussed that snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Did you know there were other signs to watch out for? These symptoms are:

  1. Exhaustion/Fatigue
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Concentration is difficult
  4. Irritability
  5. You can fall asleep at any time (e.g., at work)
  6. Sexual dysfunction
  7. Learning difficulties

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

After you have been properly diagnosed, make sure to see a professional. Don’t try to diagnose yourself! It is now time to act. It is not possible to get rid of sleep apnea by itself. If you desire more energy and better sleeping, it is important to make dietary changes as well as seek medical intervention. It can seem overwhelming to be presented with all of the options. It can be overwhelming to decide what your next steps should be. Every doctor will offer their opinion. Let’s first look at all the choices that are available to us.

Lifestyle modifications

Your lifestyle is the most important change that you’ll be required to make. Many people suffer from sleep apnea because of poor diets and insufficient exercise. Losing weight is more challenging after a certain age. You have many options when you want to lose weight. You will need to get started on your mobility and diet.

Some people may experience significant changes when they go on sleep apnea treatments. Some foods should be avoided, and others must be eaten more often. It is important to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoiding heavy and greasy food is also advisable. If you are looking to lose weight or feel healthier, alcohol must be eliminated completely from your diet. Saturated fats are often linked to obesity so it’s important to eliminate red meat, fast food, and other unhealthy foods. It is also a good idea to quit smoking.

Also, you’ll be required to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. You can do anything, from walking each day to high-intensity cardio. Start small, particularly if your previous exercise habits have been very sedentary. You can’t stop yourself from starting a routine of exercise by going all-in immediately only to fail and then giving up. You can start slowly and increase your heart rate at your own speed until you feel comfortable.

You can take other steps if diet and exercise have not worked for you.

CPAP Therapy

CPAP machines have become very popular among sleep apnea sufferers. This is essentially a mask you use at night. The mask covers your mouth and nose and pushes oxygen through the tube. This ensures that you have a constant oxygen supply throughout the night. They work well for certain people. They can be a challenge for others. They can be very difficult on partners. These people can be quite noisy. These devices can also be uncomfortable and limit the position of your sleep. A CPAP can cause sensitive skin problems for people who have it. It may be too aggressive in the mouth and nose area.

Oral appliances

Because they are less invasive, oral appliances can often be preferred to CPAP. The positioning of your jaw, while you sleep, can be improved by dental devices. This allows for more airflow through your throat. This is a great option for those who can’t tolerate CPAP or don’t wish to use it. They are less intrusive and easier to use. Sleep Better Columbus (614) 777-7350 can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea, improve your quality of life and even eliminate it altogether.

There are many options available for sleep apnea treatments. There’s no need to do anything that you don’t like. It can be scary to have sleep apnea. You’ll do fine if you take proper care.

For a friendly consultation, call Sleep Better Columbus at 614-777-7350.


What is Sleep Medicine?

What is Sleep Medicine?

Getting a good night’s sleep can make or break your day when you wake up. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep then you’re feeling fresh to start your day. But the effects of sleep deprivation can cause you to wake up cranky, groggy, and feeling like you’re dragging all day long with excessive daytime sleepiness.

Just as there are many reasons why you may be sleep deprived, there are just as many ways to improve healthy sleep habits. Understanding what’s causing your poor sleep quality is just as important as improving it. Fixing your sleep issues isn’t always as easy as taking a sleeping pill or other sleep aids. Poor sleep quality could be a sign of a much more serious health problem.

That’s where sleep medicine comes in. It can determine if you have a sleep disorder or medical problem that is keeping you up all night. It’s estimated that 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. If you think you’re part of this group, you’re probably looking for help. That’s where seeking the help of a sleep medicine professional can change the way you sleep.

What is Sleep Medicine?

Sleep medicine takes a look at sleep disorders. When you see a doctor who is a sleep medicine specialist, they are trained to look for sleep disorders. An accredited sleep physician is familiar with a variety of sleep problems including:

  • Pediatric sleep problems
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • And a variety of other types of sleeping disorders and issues

Sleep medicine can help to treat several different types of issues. Let’s take a look at what a sleep medicine specialist can help treat.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can be a serious condition. When someone has OSA, they may stop breathing frequently during the night. This can be due to a blocked airway, or the brain not sending the right signals to breathe. Throughout the night, people can stop breathing for as long as 40 seconds. During this time, your brain wakes up, causing you to move and resume breathing.

A common sign of OSA is snoring or a sound like someone is choking or gasping for air. Sleep apnea can cause the level of oxygen in the blood to drop. This leads to restlessness, waking up abruptly, and poor sleep.  Since OSA interrupts your sleep, you are left feeling groggy which can lead to poor productivity at work and can put you at a greater risk of getting into a car accident because you’re not as alert as you should be.

Many people don’t know they have this condition until someone observes them sleeping. They may feel fatigued, but not realize that they are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Besides getting a poor night’s sleep, obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  Several treatments can help improve poor sleep quality associated with OSA. This includes a customized mouth guard that’s worn at night or the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Many people with sleep apnea don’t like using continuous positive airway pressure machines and prefer an oral appliance to help them with their obstructive sleep apnea. At Sleep Better Columbus, we can help you find the one that is most comfortable and suits your needs. These oral appliances work to move the lower jaw forward to open the airway and unblock your windpipe. This can improve breathing at night and help people sleep better.

FDA-registered oral appliances can be used to treat sleep apnea when they are given by a qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine.

For some people, losing weight can also help to treat sleep apnea. Some people who are obese and suffer from OSA are advised to lose weight to also help with their apnea issues. But losing weight isn’t always enough. This is why it’s a good idea to request an appointment with someone experienced with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as well as special training for diagnosing and treating OSA.

If you think you have sleep apnea, it’s best to get the treatment you need to get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall health.

Primary Insomnia

Besides sleep apnea, sleep medicine also addresses the issue of primary insomnia. You may be suffering from primary insomnia if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up frequently during the night. If this happens for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from primary chronic insomnia.

Primary insomnia may be caused by anxiety, depression, too much caffeine, or certain medications. When you don’t sleep properly, your body is not getting the time it needs to repair and restore it. This leads to many problems including tiredness during the day and poor decision-making.

When your insomnia lasts for three months or more, it is considered chronic and can lead to even more problems. Seeking the help of a sleep medicine specialist can help to alleviate the problems that are leading to your insomnia.


When you’re asking what is sleep medicine, narcolepsy also needs to be addressed. Narcolepsy not only disrupts people’s sleep during the night but also makes them sleepy during the day. They feel overwhelmingly tired and have trouble fighting off the urge to sleep. Sometimes people even fall asleep while they’re trying to have a conversation.

This is especially dangerous because it can happen when people are driving and even eating. The dangers of this are obvious because people can get into an accident and even choke when they’re eating.

A sleep specialist can help people with narcolepsy so that they can feel more awake and not be at risk of hurting themselves or someone else.

Call us for Sleep Medicine Help

At Sleep Better Columbus, we want to help you sleep better. We can answer your questions when it comes to what is sleep medicine and provides you with the help you need to get a better night’s sleep. We are dedicated to staying on top of sleep research to be able to provide our patients with a diagnosis based on their unique symptoms. We’ll then provide a treatment program to help you improve your sleep hygiene to help put an end to your sleep disturbances and sleep problems. Dr. Mark Levy, a sleep specialist, and his team are trained in providing help to those suffering from sleep apnea.

They can help people with sleep apnea, snoring, and many of the conditions that can go along with them, like teeth grinding and fatigue. When you have your sleep issues addressed, you’ll regain your health, vitality, energy, and improve your overall quality of life. Dr. Levy and his team also help patients with sleep education and to understand the effects of sleep disorders. Healthy sleep behaviors and habits are vital to living a healthy, happy life.

The team at Sleep Better Columbus can help with diagnosis and testing. Request an appointment today at 614-362-7292 to find out more about sleep research and sleep hygiene and how sleep specialists can help you.

For Sleep Apnea, a Mouth Guard May be a Good Alternative to CPAP

For Sleep Apnea, a Mouth Guard May be a Good Alternative to CPAP

People with sleep apnea who can’t tolerate the noise and discomfort of a CPAP machine might benefit from a mouth guard or surgery.

By Nicholas Bakalar

Article Published May 31, 2021

Oral device that us used to treat sleep apnea

Many people wear a CPAP machine at night to treat the interrupted breathing of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. But CPAP machines can be noisy, cumbersome and uncomfortable, and many people stop using the devices altogether, which can have dire long-term consequences.

Mouth guards may be a more comfortable and easy-to-use alternative for many people with obstructive sleep apnea, according to a new report. The study, published in Laryngoscope, looked at 347 people with sleep apnea who were fitted with a mouth guard by an otolaryngologist. Two-thirds of patients reported they were comfortable wearing the devices, and the devices appeared to be effective in helping to relieve the disordered breathing of obstructive sleep apnea.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Guillaume Buiret, head of otolaryngology at Valence Hospital in Valence, France, said that if he had sleep apnea, he would choose an oral appliance first.

“It’s easy to tolerate, effective and it costs a lot less than CPAP,” he said. “Thirty to 40 percent of our patients can’t use CPAP, and these patients almost always find the dental appliance helpful. I would recommend it as a first-line treatment”

Loud snoring may be the most obvious consequence of sleep apnea, but the condition, if left untreated, can lead to a broad range of complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, liver dysfunction and Type 2 diabetes.

The problem develops when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway. This leads to breathing cessation for brief periods, gasping for air, difficulty staying asleep, and all the problems of daytime sleepiness, from poor job performance to fatal accidents. Animals can have it too — bulldogs, for example, have a narrow airway and a soft palate that can easily block it. Their sleep apnea is almost identical to the human version.

The severity of the condition varies widely from a very mild problem that may need no treatment at all to severe or even life-threatening disease. Dr. Sara E. Benjamin, a neurologist and sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins, said that spending a night in a sleep laboratory monitored by a technician is the best way to diagnose apnea. A lab study offers the most thorough analysis, and can detect many other sleep problems besides apnea, but there are home test kits that are easy to use and cost-effective. They test breathing effort and oxygen levels, but not the brain waves, muscle tone and leg movements that a lab test records.

How can you know that you need a sleep assessment? “It’s a low standard to get evaluated, either by home testing or in a sleep lab,” Dr. Benjamin said. “If a person feels sleep problems are impacting daily activities, that’s enough to go and get evaluated. If the cause is a breathing problem, you don’t want to ignore it.”

A CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure — machine is usually the first option for treating sleep apnea. The device has a motor that delivers pressurized air through a tube attached to a mask that covers the nose, or both the nose and the mouth. This keeps the airway open. Some machines can automatically change the pressure to compensate for changes in sleep position; others require manual adjustment. Headgear varies, but all have adjustable straps to get the right fit. There are newer models that can deliver heated or humidified air, depending on the patient’s preferences, and there are small travel models as well.

“We recommend a custom device made by a dentist,” Dr. Benjamin said. “And you should be retested to see how well it’s working. There’s subjective and objective improvement that should be tracked.”

But there are people for whom neither CPAP nor dental appliances work, either because they cannot use them consistently or correctly, or because the devices themselves do not solve the problem even when used properly. For these patients, there are various effective surgical procedures.

The most common is soft tissue surgery, which involves modifying or excising tissue at the back of the mouth. Depending on the structures and musculature of the mouth, the surgeon can trim the soft palate and the uvula, remove the tonsils, shrink tissues with a heated instrument, straighten a deviated septum, or alter the position of the tongue muscles, all with the aim of improving air flow.
White plastic mouth guard for Obstructive Sleep Apnea by O2Vent Optima

There are also bone surgeries that move the jaw forward to make the entire breathing space larger, a procedure that can involve a protracted recovery period.

In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration approved a device called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation. This is a small appliance implanted under the skin like a heart pacemaker. Using two electrical leads, it senses the breathing pattern and stimulates the nerve that controls the tongue to move it out of the way and allow air to pass freely. Implanting it is a day surgery procedure that takes about two hours.

“It doesn’t change the anatomy, and recovery is easier than with other surgeries,” said Dr. Maria V. Suurna, an associate professor of otolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medicine who specializes in surgery for sleep apnea. “It’s effective. It has the lowest complication rate of all the surgeries.

“But it’s not for everyone. It’s approved only for adults 18 and older who are not overweight and who have moderate to severe apnea.” Some people may be ineligible because of the structure of their anatomy.

“Surgery is tricky,” Dr. Suurna said. “But there’s no ideal treatment for apnea. Each has pros and cons, benefits and risks.”

What do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea?

What do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea?

Suffering from sleep apnea can not only disrupt your sleep, but it can be a serious health problem. This is why it’s important to get diagnosed so that you can get the treatment you need. One of the treatments that many people choose is an oral appliance. For many, this is much easier to use than some other available therapy options.

But, as with many medical treatments, the cost can be an issue. Although you have health insurance, many people still wonder, what do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea? Let’s answer that question and look at some of the issues surrounding sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, this means you pause when you’re breathing during sleep, or there is a reduction in your breathing. If someone stops breathing completely or takes less than 10% of a normal breath for ten seconds or more, they are experiencing an apnea or obstructive sleep apnoea.  If you are experiencing sleep apnea, you may suddenly wake up or move from a deep sleep to a more shallow sleep.

To determine if you have sleep apnea, a sleep study is generally needed. During a sleep study, sleep patterns are monitored to see if someone stops breathing during the middle of the night and at what frequency. This will help doctors determine if they have sleep apnea and what type. From there, the proper course of sleep apnea treatment can be devised.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Once you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s time to get treatment. Oral appliances are a popular option over using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.  Some people find these cpap therapy machines to be noisy and intrusive.

Oral appliance therapy works to treat sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward to open the airway and unblock the windpipe, which can improve breathing and lead to a better night’s sleep. FDA-registered oral devices can be used to treat sleep apnea when they are given by a qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine.  At Sleep Better Columbus, we can help you find the right oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea and get you a better night’s sleep.

Insurance and Oral Appliance Treatment  for Sleep Apnea

Since all insurance companies are different, you’ll need to contact your specific insurance company to make sure that you are covered for an oral appliance for sleep apnea. Generally, plans will at least cover a portion of the cost.

Most health insurance plans consider oral appliances or dental appliances for sleep apnea as a piece of medical equipment. This is why they will cover it. There are more than 100 FDA-approved oral appliances available to help treat sleep apnea. Your insurance may specify the type of oral appliance that they will cover instead of letting the doctor and patient choose. These are things you will need to ask your benefits department.

To get coverage for an oral appliance for sleep apnea, you’ll have to show that you suffer from the condition and not just chronic snoring. A copy of the sleep study and any medical notes from your sleep apnea screening appointment is also necessary. Your medical history will also be considered. Some insurance companies may also require other documentation, so it’s best to ask so that you are prepared.

Of course, for your insurance company to pay for an oral appliance for sleep apnea, it needs to be prescribed by your doctor. The insurance company will need to see that documentation to provide any level of coverage.

Although the equipment goes in your mouth, an oral mouthpiece is treated under your health insurance, not your dental insurance. The device is being used to treat a medical condition, not one that is specific to your dental health. An oral appliance is seen as a piece of medical equipment because it can be used to improve your health.

When people begin using oral appliance treatment for sleep apnea, they can also help to avoid serious health problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

If you have a medical history of any of these or a family history of them, it’s important to get treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea as soon as possible.

How Much Do Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Cost?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many oral devices  for sleep apnea available. Since they are custom-fit to each patient and everyone may choose something different depending on their condition, it’s best to ask your doctor which ones are best for you. From there, you can price them out and get a better idea of the cost.

Once you have an estimate, you can find out how your insurance may cover it. This will also vary depending on your plan. If you have a deductible, this will come into play, as well as if you have any co-insurance. Many times patients do need to pay for a percentage of the cost. But, the exact dollar amount will depend on your insurance coverage.

Contact Us!

When you need an oral appliance to treat obstructive sleep apnea (osa), visit Dr. Mark Levy at Sleep Better Columbus.  Dr. Levy is trained in treating sleep apnea and can recommend dental appliances for sleep that can help. Let Dr. Levy and his dental sleep staff show you the alternative to CPAP machine to improve the quality of your sleep.

The dental sleep medicine staff at Sleep Better Columbus can help you find an oral device for sleep apnea that your insurance will cover so that you can get your obstructive sleep apnea under control. Once you do, you’ll notice you’re getting a better night’s sleep as well as an improved quality of life. When you have your sleep apnea treated, you’ll feel energized and healthy.

Call Sleep Better Columbus today at 614-362-7292 to find out more about oral appliances to treat your sleep apnea.

Columbus Ranked 6th Most Sleep Deprived Large City in US

Columbus Ranked 6th Most Sleep Deprived Large City in US

If you’re reading this article through blurry eyes, you’re not alone. Columbus was recently ranked one of the most sleep deprived cities in the United States by a study from RetailMeNot.

The study looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in which adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Additional metrics include statistics on poor mental health and physical health, as a lack of sleep can have a drastic impact on both.

Columbus ended up in 6th place on the list of large cities with a whopping 41.8% of adults reporting getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. The only large cities to rank higher include Detroit (#1 with 51.4% of adults reporting less than seven hours of sleep per night) followed by Cleveland, Memphis, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

“Many facets of modern life contribute to the lack of sleep,” states the RetailMeNot blog post that features the results of the study. “One example is technology, as people spend more time in front of brightly-lit devices that disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythms. But more fundamental patterns of working and living are also at play. Factors like longer commutes and longer working hours in the U.S. workforce may be key reasons why a good night’s rest is harder to come by.”

As a whole, the CDC reports that the United States has a national rate of 36.2% of adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, which means that Columbus isn’t that much higher than the national average.

To view the full results of the study, visit

RELATED: The Future of Sleep


Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

With almost 15 million cases of coronavirus and over 280,000 deaths in the U.S., we have fortunately learned much about COVID-19 prevention measures and treatments since the early days of the pandemic, and a vaccine is now in sight. Most of our knowledge regarding  risk factors for worse outcomes, include immunocompromised status, diabetes, older age and high blood pressure.

One risk factor remains hidden in plain sight: obstructive sleep apnea.

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