Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

What You Need to Know about Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a health disorder that affects millions of Americans. More often than not, a person is unaware that one is suffering from it. Studies show that up to 90 percent of people with the disorder are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is characterized by breath pauses during sleep that can last for 20 to 30 seconds. Several indicators of sleep apnea are choking, snoring, snorting, and teeth grinding. That is why it is often the sufferer’s partner who notices the condition first.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea:

Central sleep apnea:
The first type is known as central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is a known nervous system disorder caused by a disease or injury involving the brainstem. This causes delayed signals from the brain to the breathing muscles. Once breathing stops, oxygen levels begin to decrease. People suffering may not snore, but do experience shortness of breath.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):
The other type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is more common than central sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a blocked airway that results from an over-relaxed tongue and muscles, bone and facial structure deformities, and obesity. When the airway is blocked, the person will stop breathing and start to snort and gasp.

When the oxygen level is reduced, the carbon dioxide level goes up. The brain will try to wake the person in order to normalize the breathing process. The brain will try to open the airway by adjusting the throat and tongue muscles that lead to loud snoring. The person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will not be aware of snoring or remember waking up for that short period of time.

Learn more about OSA and the treatment options we offer for this type of sleep apnea.

Both types of sleep apnea have different causes. However, the effects are the same including, reduced levels of oxygen in the brain, excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, fatigue, and poor sleep. If the oxygen level reaches a very low level, sleep apnea can also lead to heart irregularities and high blood pressure. The disorder can also disturb one’s partner due to the loud snoring.

How to Treat Sleep Apnea

There are several ways to treat sleep apnea. One option is a dental application known as Mandibular Advancement Device or Jaw Advancing Device. These mouthpieces are made by dentists with the use of a mold. Not only will the oral mouth guard appliance be used to treat sleep apnea, it is also an effective way to help you stop snoring.
The appliance works by moving the jaw forward to improve the size of the upper airway. This will reduce the air resistance that causes sleep apnea. Oral appliances are an alternative to sleep apnea oral surgery. They are also known as anti-snoring devices that work by reducing the turbulence in the airway.

If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, it is best that you consult a dentist right away. One will know the right way to treat the disorder and help you sleep better at night.

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