• Office Location

    Don H Lowrance, MS, DDS, PC
    5282 Medical Drive,
    Suite 430
    San Antonio, Texas 78229
    (210) 294-5111

    We are located in a 4 story building located at the corner of Medical Dr. and Babcock Rd. You can enter from Medical Dr. or Babcock Rd. Take the elevator in the lobby, to 4th floor, and turn right. We are in the same offices as Dr. Ana Maldonado and Dr. Robert Busby.

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    San Antonio Sleep Apnea

    Each year sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, many of which are in the San Antonio area. This means that each year, even more people are deprived of oxygen while they sleep, which can cause all sorts of problems, including organ failure which is often connected to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure. All of these problems can ultimately kill you, a consequence that shocks most sleep apneics who think they only have a simple snoring problem. Those with sleep apnea are able to breathe at night, but the frequent (sometimes constant) cessations in breathing do not allow the body to get adequate amounts of oxygen.

    Types of Sleep Apnea

    Patients with sleep apnea can suffer from three different types, each of which is caused by a different problem within the body. The type of sleep apnea that a patient is diagnosed with plays a large role in the treatment method that a sleep dentist, like Dr. Lowrance, recommends.

    Central Sleep Apnea

    Central sleep apnea is caused when the brain basically forgets to tell the body to breathe. At night the brain repeatedly fails to send signals to breathe parts of body that control breathing.

    Treatment of central sleep apnea requires a close relationship with a physician, but it can still be treated with an oral sleep apnea appliance in conjunction with an airway pressure hose connected to a CPAP machine. This way the patient doesn’t have to wear a mask and can usually get by with lower pressure settings on his/her CPAP machine.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

    Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by physical blockage of the airway usually due to a collapse of the soft palate tissues located within the throat. Conditions such as obesity can also cause or exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Lowrance is highly adept at treating obstructive sleep apnea. For the purpose of this website, when discussing “sleep apnea”, we are referring to obstructive sleep apnea, unless we state otherwise.

    Complex Sleep Apnea

    Sometimes referred to as “mixed apnea”, complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea usually occurs when obstructive sleep apnea is very severe and is not properly treated which can then cause central sleep apnea episodes.

    Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is generally the result of poor neuromuscular physiology (the way the jaw and teeth work together) as a result of a childhood developmental problem. The developmental problem can be caused by all sorts of conditions such as constant allergies, large tonsils and adenoids, posture and spinal column issues, or it may even be genetic. These conditions can cause a child to become a mouth breather, which then enlarges the tongue and often has an adverse effect on the development and shape of the jaw, cranium, and facial bones as well as the position of the head and neck. In the case of many mouth breathers, the jaw muscles naturally become trained to naturally settle in an open position, and when the patient lays down, the lower jaw collapses backward. When this happens the airway is not always held open to allow for proper breathing as the airway becomes easily blocked by soft tissues such as the tongue and others located in the throat. This blockage makes breathing difficult and causes frequent interruptions (or “apneas”) as well as loud snoring as these soft tissues vibrate.

    Sleep Apnea Symptoms

    There are many different symptoms that are usually linked to sleep apnea including:

    • Chronic snoring
    • Day-time sleepiness
    • Headache upon awakening
    • Memory and concentration problems
    • Moodiness/personality changes

    If you suffer from any of these symptoms, contact a sleep apnea dentist such as Dr. Lowrance who can work with outside sleep professionals to diagnose and treat your condition accordingly.

    Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

    In the early stages of sleep apnea, there are various tests that must be conducted in order to properly detect the condition and to assess the type and severity of sleep apnea from which the patient suffers. Both the Epworth sleepiness scale and the Berlin Sleep Evaluation form can be used to pre-screen a patient to determine the likelihood that the patient has a snoring or sleep apnea problem. Positive results on either one of these tests usually indicate a high percentage (90%) that the patient is likely to have sleep apnea.

    For those patients who may have more severe or longer-term sleep apnea, Dr. Lowrance prefers to start with a sleep screening with instrumentation, such as Apnea Link, that the patient is able to take home to see if they possibly have sleep apnea. The equipment is able to discern what type of sleep apnea the patient might have as well.

    Sleep Apnea Treatment

    Sleep apnea treatment heavily depends on the type of sleep apnea needing to be treated as well as any other health factors that may play a role in the treatment or cause of sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea usually involves the use of sleep apnea appliances, all of which are different and suitable for all sorts of sleep apneics.

    Contact Us for Sleep Apnea Help

    Sleep apnea is a condition that often goes undetected and untreated for too long. Be aware of the symptoms of sleep apnea and take action if you seem to suffer from any of them. It never hurts to undergo diagnosis for sleep apnea, as it becomes especially important if you do have the condition. Come to Dr. Lowrance’s office for help with sleep apnea. We can arrange for a sleep study that is carefully reviewed by a sleep physician. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Lowrance can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.