There are actually two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central. With obstructive sleep apnea, the airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep, causing the patient to stop breathing very briefly. Typically, the patient will have excess tissue near the airway opening, and that tissue collapses and blocks the airway opening while the patient is in a reclined position. This is the most common type of sleep apnea. In cases of central sleep apnea, the patient stops breathing because signals from the brain to the muscles that control breathing are interrupted. The type of sleep apnea present in a particular case will determine the treatment.
A variety of symptoms can indicate the presence of obstructive sleep apnea, including loud snoring and pauses in breathing that may be noticed by a sleeping partner. Frequent morning headaches, along with sore throats and dry mouth upon waking, can also suggest obstructive sleep apnea. You may also notice that you are more moody than normal or that you are tired and have difficulty concentrating.
Certain risk factors increase the likelihood that you will develop sleep apnea. They include obesity, male gender, smoking, alcohol use before bedtime and chronic nasal or sinus congestion, among other factors. If you have any of these risk factors, you should be extra diligent about monitoring yourself for sleep apnea symptoms.
Fortunately, sleep apnea can be treated. A conservative approach is oral appliance therapy. With this treatment method, patients wear a custom-designed device that looks and feels similar to an athletic mouthguard while they are asleep. The appliance keeps the tongue or jaw toward the front of the mouth, keeping the soft tissues that normally cause the blockage away from the airway opening. These appliances are comfortable and easy to use, much more so than another common treatment – the CPAP mask.
If you have sleep apnea, it’s important for you to get treatment for it. If you fail to act, your health and well-being can be at risk. Sleep apnea often leads to serious conditions like stroke and heart disease, along with reducing your quality of life by disrupting your sleep.
To learn more about sleep apnea and how it can be addressed, schedule an evaluation at our office. Getting effective sleep apnea treatment can restore your health and your well-being.
A full night’s sleep for both you and your partner. Wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Experience increased concentration, memory, focus and energy.
Avoid the health risks caused by untreated sleep apnea and live a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.