Sleep ApneaMt Kisco, NY
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which causes the sufferer to have periods of interrupted breathing while asleep. Many with undiagnosed sleep apnea are often unaware they have any sleep problems. In fact, some do not find out until their partner alerts them to the issue, as some forms of the disease can cause noisy snoring in combination with impaired breathing.
If left untreated, the disorder causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly and constantly throughout sleep. Sometimes, interruptions to breathing can occur hundreds of times per sleep cycle.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, get yourself checked out and treated immediately. If left unchecked, sleep apnea can lead to a higher risk of health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. Sleep apnea can even make an individual more likely to fall asleep while driving, putting yourself and others at risk.
What are the types of sleep apnea?
There are generally two different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA is marked by loud snoring and is caused by a blocked airway when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central sleep apnea
The airway is not blocked with central sleep apnea. Rather, the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles to activate. This is usually due to instability in the respiratory control center.
Who gets sleep apnea?
The disorder can affect any individual of any age or walk of life. Even children can have sleep apnea. But some with certain characteristics or conditions may be more susceptible. Those more prone to the disease include:
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Usually, those with sleep apnea are unaware of the fact. Symptoms shown while the sufferer sleeps are usually observed by a loved one. During sleep, symptoms include:
Because the disorder happens during sleep, the sufferer usually cannot tell by these symptoms alone if they have sleep apnea. However, there are telltale signs during waking life that point to sleep apnea, such as:
What are the effects of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can increase the risk of a variety of health issues if left untreated for long periods of time. Those issues include, but are not limited to:
Sleep apnea often makes it difficult to complete daily activities. This means the disorder does not only affect sleep but can affect everyday life. Poor job performance, irritability, poor grades in school and car crashes have all been linked to sleep apnea.
Treatment from a dentist
Thankfully, there are solutions for this potentially serious sleeping disorder. First, it may be helpful to get a sleep apnea test, known as a polysomnogram. This can be done either in a sleep disorder center or from home. While you sleep, you wear the device so it can record and transmit information about your sleep cycles such as frequency of wakings, interruption of breathing and other physical activities while you sleep.
As for treatment, there are options. Treatment usually means a combination of lifestyle changes like losing weight or changing sleep positions. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco products is another recommendation to control apnea.
If these lifestyle changes do not help, a dentist can help by referring you to a CPAP machine. CPAP machines (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines) deliver a continuous flow of air into the nose to promote regular breathing. The mask is worn over the nose and mouth during sleep. This is the most common treatment for sleep apnea.
A dentist can also help by giving the patient a dental device to keep the airway open during sleep. These customized appliances work with your exact needs, be it keeping your jaw forward or supplying extra support to the breathing muscles at the back of the throat.
Surgery is another viable option if none of these seem to do the trick. Nasal surgery can encourage a freer movement of air through the nose and throat.
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