What Is Sleep Apnea?


Woman covering ears while husband snoresHere, at Advanced Family Dentistry, we are specialists in the treatment and diagnosis of sleep apnea. Do you snore loudly during your sleep? Do you wake up tired even after a whole night of sleep? You could have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder where your breathing starts and stops multiple times. The result is a lack of enough oxygen supply to your brain and body during sleep.

Chronic snoring is the main symptom of sleep apnea. However, snoring does not necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Similarly, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. Ideally, normal snoring hardly interferes with sleep quality. So, if you wake up feeling tired or you suffer intense fatigue during the day, you probably have sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea


The more prevalent type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The relaxation of the throat and tongue tissue, which leads to the blockage of the airway, causes this type of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is the other type of sleep apnea. This sleep disorder involves the central nervous system, whereby the brain fails to communicate with the muscles that control breathing effectively. Snoring is rare with this type of sleep apnea.

Then there is complex sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea.

Whichever type of sleep apnea, breathing starts and stop. The interruption of oxygen supply is what causes extreme fatigue in sleep apnea patients.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea


Most people do not take snoring seriously or are ashamed about it. Sleep apnea is a severe condition. Aside from fatigue, it leads to other health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and heart failure, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems.

Fortunately, sleep apnea is a treatable condition. There are lifestyle changes and home remedies you can implement to reduce and prevent sleep apnea. Home remedies include sleeping on your side, opening your nasal passages before sleep, and elevating the head of your bead. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, working out, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and avoiding alcohol, heavy meals, sleeping pills, and caffeine before going to bed.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure). CPAP treats both severe and moderate sleep apnea. It involves a device that covers your face, which looks like a mask. The device provides a continuous high-pressure air stream that keeps your airway open as you sleep.

Another treatment option we use for sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy (OAT). The treatment involves the use of dental appliances that resemble mouthguards as you sleep. They work by maintaining your lower jaw and tongue in a position that keeps the airway open throughout your sleep. They are a more popular treatment option as they are portable and quieter compared to CPAP devices. However, they are most effective in patients with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea.

If you need help with sleep apnea, do visit our clinic. Call us at Advanced Family Dentistry at (765) 287-5338 today to book your appointment. n appointment today!

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