An Overview of Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a common problem that many people are suffering from. This is a disorder where your breathing is interrupted when you are sleeping. While snoring is associated with sleep apnea, not all people who snore suffer from sleep apnea. This disorder can disrupt your sleeping life, making you have a low-quality life. So, what should you know about this disorder?

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea disorder can be categorized into two types which include:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
    This is the most common type of sleep apnea that many people suffer from. It occurs when the soft tissues at the back your back collapses while you sleep and block airflow. Your breathing will be interrupted, and you end up waking up, gasping for air. This type of disorder is mostly caused by health factors, such as being obese.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea
    Your brain controls all the parts of your body by signalling them. This type of sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to signal the breathing muscles to function. Your airway becomes blocked because your breathing muscles aren’t responding. The problem can be triggered by health conditions such as brain tumors, stroke, heart failure, and brain diseases.

Who can be Affected by Sleep Apnea?

This disorder can affect any person, regardless of age or gender. However, men are more prone to develop sleep apnea. While there is no person limited to being affected by this disorder, the following people are at higher risk of being affected by sleep apnea:

Persons above the age of 40
Overweight persons
People with a large tongue, tonsils and small jaw
People from a family with a history of sleep apnea
People with nasal obstruction caused by allergies deviated septum or sinus issues

Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea Disorder

If a sleep expert diagnoses you with sleep apnea, you should consider seeking treatment because you are at risk of suffering the following health problems:
High blood pressure
Heart problems
Worsening of ADHD.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The following are some of the treatment options that you should undergo if you are suffering from sleep apnea:

  1. Adjust your sleeping habits
    This is the simplest treatment options for sleep apnea. All you need to do is avoid sleeping with your face up.
  2. Use Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP)
    CPAP is a device that can aid you to keep breathing while you sleep. The device keeps your air open while you sleep, giving you a continuous supply of air through the nasal passages. The air pressure from the device prevents the blocking of your airways.
  3. Use Oral appliances
    A sleep expert can recommend an oral device that will shift and support your jaw to keep your airway open at all times. Oral devices can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea.
  4. Undergo Surgery
    When all other treatment options have failed, undergoing surgery may be your last resort. For example, if large tonsils cause the disorder, surgery may be required to resolve the disorder. The process can either be minimally invasive or more complex based on the location and nature of the airway obstruction.

The above information gives you an overview of sleep apnea. If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, you should visit a medical professional for evaluation and advice. Contact us today at Douglas Dentistry for more information.