Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea
You may be suffering from sleep apnea if you snore heavily, feel groggy during the day, wake up frequently at night. In this article, Dr. Green from Green Dental Care explains everything that you need to know about sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea refers to a medical condition characterized by repeated pausing in breathing for at least 10 seconds while you sleep. These pauses in breathing can happen several dozen times or even hundreds of times throughout the night.
Dr. Chris Green, the best family dentist in Parker CO, explains that there are two types of sleep apnea. The first, and the most common type, is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea is linked to blockages or constrictions in the airway that make it difficult for the affected individual to breathe. The constriction may be due to the collapsing/relaxation of the muscles in the throat while you sleep, or it may be due to having a large tongue and other such factors that make it hard for air to flow through while you sleep.
The second type of sleep apnea is rare and it is called central sleep apnea (CSA. The experts at Green Dental Care in Parker, CO explain that CSA results when an anomaly causes the brain to be unable to send signals to the muscles which control breathing. As a result of the lack of this neurological information, a patient will periodically pause breathing and then wake up gasping for air as the body is deprived of oxygen. CSA isn’t as common as OSA.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Loud, persistent snoring – When your airways are obstructed, you are likely to snore loudly while you sleep. The sound you make is a result of the vibrations of the soft tissues in your throat as air forces its way through. Dr. Chris Green cautions that not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, but there’s a good chance that they do.
- Gasping for Breath – This sleeping disorder causes you to pause for several seconds without breathing. During such a pause, the concentration of oxygen in your blood will drop considerably. As a result, your brain will send signals to different muscles in your body in order to compel you to wake up so you can breathe. Dr. Andrei Ionescu, a Parker, CO dentist, says this is why you wake up gasping for breath so that enough oxygen can be carried in your blood before the detrimental effects of oxygen deprivation set in.
- Excessive Daytime Fatigue – The repeated cycle of sleeping and then waking up gasping for breath means that you will not have ample rest at night. Consequently, you will always feel fatigued during the day because your body is crying out for rest.
- Waking Up Frequently at Night – Because of the intermittent pauses in breathing, those with this sleeping disorder may wake up frequently to go and use the bathroom or take a drink of water. You may also have a headache when you wake up at night and your throat may be sore.
Is There a Link With Obesity?
Dr. Beth Herko, a dentist in New Providence, NJ, points out that researchers have found that there is a close link between being obese and being likely to suffer from OSA. However, additional research unearthed an unexpected finding that OSA increases one’s risk of becoming obese. This may be due to the way sleep apnea throws the body’s hormonal system out of whack, thereby leading to obesity and diabetes.
Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?
For a long time, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices were the go-to interventions for people who suffered from OSA. These machines mechanically kept the airway open so that a patient could sleep. However, the machines are dreaded by sufferers of OSA because the machine is loud, bulky, and uncomfortable. For many patients, this cure is worse than the disease!
Fortunately, there are dental sleep appliances that can be custom-made for you if you are confirmed to have OSA For example, your dentist in Parker CO may make for you a mandibular advancement device (MAD) or a tongue retaining device. These keep the airway open so that you can have a good night’s sleep free from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea predisposes you to several health issues and complications that include the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, stroke, and so many other complications. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, visit Green Dental Care in Parker, CO so that Dr. Chris Green and his entire team can assess the patient. Appropriate remedies, such as getting a dental sleep appliance, will then be recommended.