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Sleep: It’s a precious commodity that we all need, but not all of us can get it. Whether it’s a busy lifestyle, a new baby or simply a racing mind that won’t stop even when the lights go out, there are many factors that make it difficult to get the recommended full eight hours of sleep. But what if the problem wasn’t something you could control? What if, despite trying to sleep a full eight hours, you still woke up feeling as though you never got any sleep at all, or worse, you kept your partner up all night with your heavy snoring and constant stopping and restarting breathing? What if it wasn’t you, but your child? If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you or someone you love could be suffering from a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 to 30 million American adults, but it often goes undiagnosed. In fact, experts estimate that a full 90 percent of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers are living with the condition undiagnosed. Worse yet, while it may seem harmless, sleep apnea has the potential to cause a long list of other medical problems, including stroke, heart problems and even major depressive disorder.

Obstructive sleep apnea is defined as a sleep condition in which the patient stops and restarts breathing due to the soft tissue of the throat blocking the airway. As we relax at night and our heads and necks recline, it is much easier for this blockage to occur. Obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to occur in men than women, and is more likely to occur in patients who are obese or overweight than in those with a healthy body weight.

Though there is no magic pill to cure sleep apnea, there are many treatment programs out there, including one you’ve probably heard of: continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy. You may have even seen the complicated and uncomfortable-looking CPAP mask that covers the face and must be worn every night to be effective. But what if we told you there were alternative therapies to CPAP – therapies that are just as effective if not more effective, and more comfortable too.

Dr. Mingus offers an alternative to CPAP therapy that works with an orthotic appliance you wear in your mouth. This appliance is more comfortable than a CPAP mask, and more comfortable than most of the orthotics prescribed at sleep clinics. This means you will not only be more likely to use it every night (studies have shown only about 30 percent of people use their CPAP as recommended), but you will also have a more restful sleep every night. Best of all, Dr. Mingus works with your sleep doctor to customize your solution, so that everyone is on the same page and you get the best care possible.

To learn more about treating your sleep apnea without the use of CPAP therapy, contact Dr. Mingus for a consultation at 541-382-6565.