Reader Question: My husband has mild sleep apnea and I've heard that a special dental device might help. Should he try it?
On Call Response: Maybe. Sleep apnea occurs when the top of the airway in the throat collapses during sleep; as a result, you stop breathing for about 10 seconds at a time. Oral devices that help keep the throat open by pulling the jaw slightly forward work for some people, but a CPAP machine (providing continuous positive airway pressure) is generally more effective. CPAP is a nose mask that you wear during sleep; it gently blows air into the airway to keep it from collapsing.
Whatever remedy your husband decides to try, make sure he doesn't ignore his condition: While sleep apnea is most well-known for causing annoying side effects like snoring, it has also been linked to serious conditions like heart disease (because it deprives you of oxygen during sleep, which puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels).
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