Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a fairly common disorder in which a person has pauses in breathing while they sleep.  It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.  Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur from dozens to hundreds of times during the night.  It is more likely to occur in men than women and in people who are overweight or obese.

There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central and mixed.  Obstructive sleep apnea is most common and, left untreated, results in poor sleep quality and leaves a person tired during the day.  It is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness and can increase the risk of major health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and heart failure.  Other symptoms of sleep apnea include restless sleep, loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps), falling asleep during the day, morning headaches, trouble concentrating, irritability, forgetfulness, mood or behaviour changes, anxiety and depression.

What Are The Treatment Options?

The treatment for sleep apnea includes one or more of the following options:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • CPAP masks and machines that open the air passages by using compressed air
  • A mouthguard-type oral appliance that brings the lower jaw and tongue forward
  • Different types of surgery

Dr. Stephen Ho founded the CVOS Sleep Clinic in 2009 as a result of the growing need for treatment and the significance of this disease in the population.  The goal of the clinic is to assist patients in the diagnosis of possible sleep conditions and then to discuss all surgical and non-surgical treatments available to them based on a diagnostic sleep test, facial structure, lifestyle patterns and  3-D analysis of the airway shape.

CVOS works closely with a CPAP company that has experienced, caring professionals committed to delivering quality outcomes.  They offer a wide range of CPAP products, machines and accessories from all major brands.

We offer three kinds of oral appliances, depending on what is better suited for the patients; the Somnomed appliance, the Narval appliance and the newest, the Panthera appliance.  The designs are discrete and comfortable, minimizing bulk in the mouth.  There is freedom to move the lower jaw and open the mouth.  There is a high compliance rate associated with these appliances and they provide significant reduction in the number of times a person stops breathing during the night.

Mandibular advancement surgery is a type of surgery that may be used to cure sleep apnea in patients who have severe sleep apnea and who are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy.

Due to similarities in facial and airway structure between parents and children, our clinic also works with children of sleep apnea patients so that the development of the face and airway is guided so as to minimize the chance of developing these conditions.

If you would like more information, please complete the online form and check the sleep apnea/oral appliance box, or call our office and ask for the sleep apnea coordinator. The first appointment would be a consultation with Dr. Ho to review your sleep study and to discuss options for treatment. The sleep clinic sees patients out of the Mississauga office. If you have had a diagnostic sleep study, you will need to bring a copy of the results with you to the consultation.