What is Sleep Apnea?

Did you know that up to 85% of adults say they have trouble sleeping at night? Nearly half of us fall asleep somewhere that isn’t our bed at least once a week. One of the main causes of sleep trouble in America is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that affects 6%-8% of the population. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common than central sleep apnea and is characterized by breathing interruptions during sleep due to a collapsed or obstructed upper airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. A third type of sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea, combines aspects of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Studies show that patients with sleep apnea experience pauses in their breathing hundreds of times each night, with episodes lasting up to 30 seconds or longer. Because sleep apnea results in a decreased amount of oxygen in the brain and body, sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition.


Your risk of sleep apnea can be increased by:

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol use
  • Advanced age
  • Smoking
  • Use of sedative hypnotics (sleeping pills)
  • Large neck size
  • Nasal congestion
  • Small jawbone
  • Large tongue or enlarged tonsils or adenoids

Men are twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea. If you think you may have sleep apnea, we encourage you to contact our dental office in Rockville, Maryland. At Chetan Parikh, DMD, MDS, DABDSM, we offer oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea.


Sleep Apnea and Stroke
More than 50% of stroke patients exhibit symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), often in the form of sleep apnea. Sleep breathing problems are both risk factors and consequences of stroke, and should be addressed as soon as they are identified. If you have already suffered a stroke, poor sleep can slow recovery and lead to problems with memory, depression, and other issues. Call Dr. Chetan Parikh to get your sleep back on track.

Sleep Apnea Testing
The only definitive way to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea, and how severe that condition may be, is through a sleep study, also called a polysomnogram. This sleep study can be conducted in a sleep laboratory or at home using an ambulatory sleep study device. These tests are painless and easy to administer, and usually take only one night to complete. A physician will analyze the results and provide a definitive diagnosis, at which point Dr. Chetan Parikh will be able to provide a treatment for you.

If you are unsure if you have sleep apnea and are interested in being tested, please contact our office at 301.235.9450, to schedule a consultation. Our caring dentist and a sleep physician are ready to help you! Sleep apnea can be a deadly condition, and we want to make sure that you can receive treatment and begin your recovery as soon as possible.