I figured I would start off with a little anecdote about a pretty typical obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patient we’ll call Bob. (Why is every anecdotal character called Bob?) This will hopefully give you a good overview of what we do and in future posts I’ll break each part down for you.
Bob recently came to my office complaining about loud snoring. (I should say his wife was complaining vicariously through him.) His wife also noticed that he would start gasping in his sleep. Being the concerned spouse that she is (and getting tired of poking him every time he snored), she sent him to a sleep specialist to see what was going on.
The sleep specialist prescribed an in-lab sleep test. Bob hated the experience but still complied. The diagnosis came back as moderate obstructive sleep apnea and Bob was prescribed a CPAP machine. Bob really tried to get this to work. He tried everything including lowering the pressure and different masks but he just couldn’t tolerate the hose, mask, and all that air blowing in his face. After a few short weeks, Bob gave up and his CPAP machine sat there gathering dust.
Does this sound familiar? Know anybody like this? Unfortunately, this is where the story ends for many people. Most people ignore the symptom of OSA and the few that actually go through with testing, give up after trying the CPAP machine.
Fortunately for Bob, I met him a few years later. He still had all the symptoms of OSA and his wife still had to put up with his snoring. I started talking to him about oral appliance therapy and he decided to give it a try. As Bob recounts, it was one of the better decisions that he’s made. His snoring diminished and his sleep quality is significantly improved. He feels more rested and as an added bonus, his blood pressure improved too!
Stay tuned for the post game analysis!