September 27, 2017
Patient Story: Drowsy Driving Compelled Ellwyn to Seek Sleep Apnea Treatment
Meet Ellwyn. He’s one of a number of people who suffered from the effects of sleep apnea for years without discovering a solution. He was always groggy, found it impossible to sleep restfully, and even caught himself falling asleep at the wheel. Ellwyn knew that his condition was negatively impacting his health, but he was frustrated by the ineffective treatments he had tried. Desperate, he came to Sleep Dallas to endeavor, one last time, to find an answer.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the sufferer stops breathing for short amounts of time, multiple times during the night. The condition originates when the tissue in the back of the throat loosens or collapses as it relaxes during sleep. When this happens, the airway is obstructed, which limits oxygen intake and causes a microarousal from sleep. Constantly being woken up from deep, restorative sleep can cause a host of health concerns: chronic fatigue, depression, and even serious cardiovascular and cognitive impairment.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, but it can be treated. The most well-known form of treatment is a CPAP machine, but many people with sleep apnea are intolerant to the device: they claim it’s claustrophobic, uncomfortable, and too bulky for practical use. Oral appliance therapy provides another option that has been clinically proven to be effective. They are comfortable, custom-built appliances that fit similar to a retainer or mouth guard. They prop the jaw into a “forward” position that keeps the airways open during sleep. Oral devices are comfortable, easy to transport, quiet, and non-invasive. Many patients experience dramatic improvements in sleep quality with these appliances, and feel a near-immediate positive difference in their energy levels and restfulness.
Check out Ellwyn’s story below to see how oral appliance therapy has restored his energy, fun personality, and quality of life.
Ellwyn: “Before I found treatment for sleep apnea, I found that I was dragging and fatigued most of the time. Especially when I felt sleepy in the car, I got a little bit alarmed, and I realized it was time to do something about it.”
Dr. Smith: “Ellwyn had tried quite a few different treatments. He had surgery, he had CPAP, and he couldn’t use it, so he was desperate and looking for something that would work. And that’s why he came to see us for an oral device.
Ellwyn: “The moment that I met Dr. Smith, there was no doubt in my mind that he was the right person to help me with my issue. The fact that he was so personable to begin with, so approachable, he made me feel comfortable all the time.”
Dr. Smith: “And after about three years [of successful treatment], he was ready to get another appliance. It’s made a big difference in his life, he’s not as sleepy as he used to be, and, certainly, his wife likes it a lot better.”
Ellwyn: “There’s a certain amount of fear involved because the word ‘apnea’ means cessation of breathing, and it’s scary to think that you’re doing that while you’re sleeping. And [Dr. Smith] has taken that fear out of it, and since I’ve used the device, which has been over three years now, I’m sleeping well and waking up well-rested.”
Dr. Smith: “He has all kinds of energy, he’s vivacious. And so, now, we see Ellwyn as somebody that’s fun, that we enjoy seeing in the office — and we can’t wait for him to come back!”
Have you, like Ellwyn, tried just about everything to get a good night’s sleep? Request a free consultation with Dr. Smith at Sleep Dallas today to start getting the rest you deserve.