Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know
Sep 03, 2021

Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know

Good sleep is essential for your health. With enough sleep, you gain rest and feel productive the next day. Apart from insomnia, sleep apnea is another condition that affects a relatively large population.

Most sleep breathing disorders are due to recurrent episodes of reduced or disrupted airflow. Such apnea episodes occur as a result of soft tissues on the back of the throat collapsing. When the soft tissues on the back of the throat collapse, they partially block the windpipe.

There are three common types of sleep apnea. They include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your tracheal muscles relax
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs due to poor communication between your brain and muscles controlling breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea

Among the three types, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and easy to treat than the rest.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

It is advisable to visit a sleep clinic near you if you experience the symptoms. The doctor will offer treatments to ease the symptoms and prevent secondary complications such as heart problems. Below are some of the common symptoms:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Shortness of breath or difficulties breathing during sleep
  • Confusion and poor memory
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Lack of concentration during the day
  • Insomnia
  • Waking up with a dry mouth

There are other factors you can look out for to prevent further complications. Such signs include obesity, irritability, and hypertension.

Risk Factors

The risk factors of sleep apnea depend on the type. Below are the general risk factors for developing the sleep disorder:

  • Obesity since fat deposits around your throat can block your airway
  • Neck circumference where people with thick necks have narrow airways
  • Gender in the sense that males are more prone
  • Smoking, alcohol, and tranquilizers
  • Medications
  • Health conditions
  • Stroke
  • Use of narcotic pain medications

Some of the secondary complications associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension and cardiac conditions
  • Liver problems
  • Daytime fatigue

Also, your partner might be sleep deprived due to the loud snoring.

Diagnosis

When you have signs of sleep apnea, the dentist will examine your airway and refer you to a sleep clinic near you for further diagnosis. At the sleep clinic, the doctor will recommend sleep evaluations.

Evaluations entail spending the night in a sleep center. During the sleep evaluation, the team will monitor your sleeping and breathing patterns. Here are some of the tests:

Nocturnal Polysomnography

Nocturnal polysomnography entails the use of equipment that monitors your lungs, brain, and cardiac activity. The doctor will also check your breathing patterns, blood pressure levels, and feet movements during sleep.

Home Tests

Your doctor might give you a portable device to wear during sleep. During sleep, the device will monitor and record your breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and airflow. The doctor will then review the recordings of the monitoring device and diagnose the condition.

Treatment Options

When you have sleep apnea, you can choose between sleep or dental clinic depending on the cause. Some of the options for sleep apnea and snoring treatment include:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is a device that delivers air pressure through a mask while you are asleep. Such a device would be suitable if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea.

Supplemental Oxygen

If you have central sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend supplemental oxygen. During sleep, a machine will deliver oxygen to your lungs. Therefore, you don’t have to gasp for air.

Oral Appliances

If you are wondering how your dentist can help in treating sleep apnea, here is the answer. One of the factors that can cause your throat to block is the position of the jaw.

When you visit our dental clinic with sleep apnea symptoms, the dentist will examine your jaw. To treat the condition, the dentist will fabricate custom oral appliances that push your jaw forward and keep your airway open. Wearing the dental appliance for sleep apnea will prevent the collapse of the throat muscles during sleep, facilitating breathing.

Do you or your partner have signs of sleep apnea? You can consider visiting us at Family Dental Care in Crestwood for consultations.

Other treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Treating other health problems
  • Surgery
  • Adaptive servo-ventilation

You can consult your doctor to know which treatment they offer and the one suitable for you.

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