Sleep Apnea Treatment
The long term health risks associated with sleep apnea can be very serious. Failure to treat the condition can result in a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, gastric reflux, or high blood pressure. For this reason, it is crucial that you seek sleep apnea treatment as soon as you notice any warning signs.
Dr. Heather Fleschler has been treating sleep apnea patients in the Houston areas of West University, River Oaks, Meyerland, and Bellaire since 2004. She can determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea and create a customized treatment plan to provide you with the relief you need.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please call (713) 660-6500 today to schedule a sleep apnea evaluation at our Houston office.
Diagnosing Your Condition
In order to develop the proper treatment plan, Dr. Fleschler must first diagnose your condition to determine whether you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your airway becomes blocked, or central sleep apnea, which is caused by a malfunction in the brain and central nervous system.
In certain situations, Dr. Fleschler may work with a local sleep center to more accurately diagnose the cause of your condition.
Treatment Options for Mild Cases of Sleep Apnea
If you only suffer from a mild case of sleep apnea, Dr. Fleschler may simply recommend a series of lifestyle adjustments to keep your airway open while you sleep. These often include:
- Cutting back on alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight
- Modifying your sleeping position so that you are on your side instead of your back
- Eliminating heavy meals right before bedtime
- Using additional pillows to elevate your head and facilitate breathing while you sleep
In more severe cases of sleep apnea, these lifestyle adjustments may not be effective on their own. In these situations, Dr. Fleschler may explore other treatment options as well.
Oral Appliance Therapy
With oral appliance therapy, you will wear a customized mouthpiece during sleep to maintain an open airway. These FDA-approved devices perform several important functions to prevent your soft tissue from collapsing and blocking your airway:
- Stabilize your tongue and jaw to eliminate any airway obstructions
- Reposition your soft palate, tongue, and lower jaw
- Support your muscles to help prevent a collapse of your airway
Dr. Fleschler typically prefers oral appliance therapy as her sleep apnea treatment method of choice due to the effective results that can be achieved.
For decades, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) was considered the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment. It is a device that uses a mask worn over your nose and mouth to deliver a constant flow of air pressure while you sleep. This air pressure helps keep your airway open all night.
While CPAP is an effective sleep apnea treatment method, many patients find the device to be rather uncomfortable and as a result, don’t use it as often as necessary to achieve their desired results. For this reason, Dr. Fleschler will often recommend oral appliance therapy before trying CPAP.