Do you have trouble sleeping or getting a good rest? You might not be aware of it, but you might be affected by a respiratory condition called obstructive sleep apnea. It may sound surprising but more than 18 million American adults do suffer from sleep apnea. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there about sleep apnea, so if you are wondering what exactly is this condition and what does it entail, you don’t need to worry, let’s tell you.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. Suffering from it means that your breathing will get briefly but repeatedly interrupted while you’re sleeping. Usually, your breathing would pause for at least ten seconds. The “obstructive” part refers to the fact despite the efforts to breathe, during obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of the throat won’t open the airway properly, which ultimately causes poor sleep. Such a condition might cause low blood oxygen levels and bad sleep, which may lead to hypertension, heart disease, mood, and memory problems.
What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnea
The problem with obstructive sleep apnea is that there are so many factors that may contribute to increasing the risk of suffering from it, that sometimes it is pretty hard to point out at a single cause. Some of the factors that might lead to have sleep apnea include being overweight, having a small upper airway or also a large tongue (that might cause the obstruction), but also having a small jaw, a large neck, your age (if you’re 40 years old or older, you’d have more chances to suffer from it) or your ethnicity. Not only that, if you are a smoker or consume alcohol regularly, you might also be at risk. Sleep apnea seems to run in some families more than others, suggesting that genetics might also be a cause.
What Are The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The best indicator of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. In general, people suffering from sleep apnea tend to have difficulty concentrating, being particularly irritable, have trouble memorizing things and might have a greater disposition to depression. If untreated, such symptoms can get worse, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, arrhythmia or stroke.
What Can I Do If I Have Sleep Apnea?
As soon as you suspect you have sleep apnea, you should go and consult your doctor. Explain your symptoms and describe your difficulties in sleeping and your fatigue levels during the day.
Usually, the most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is to conduct a sleep study. That means you might have to stay overnight at the clinic. The study will monitor several functions while you’re sleeping such as your heart rate, your respiratory rate, and blood oxygen levels. This diagnosis will also help to assess the severity of the condition.
A common and highly efficient treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP), which is a mask fitting over the nose and mouth, which blows air into the airway to keep it open during sleep. Other but more intrusive methods include dental appliances or surgery as well as nerve stimulation.
If your sleep apnea is not severe, you might consider taking measures and change bad lifestyle habits. For example, you might want to avoid alcohol or quit smoking as well as losing weight if you are overweight.
How To Cope With Sleep Apnea?
If you want to cancel the effect of sleep apnea, you should use the CPAP always, when you are sleeping. If used correctly, the device will be of huge benefit for your health. It will help you rest adequately and mitigating the effects of insomnia.
All in all, it is possible to cope with sleep apnea, as long as you take appropriate measure and follow your doctor’s guidance. If you think you have sleep apnea related to your dental health reach out to Douglas Dentistry. We are waiting to take your call.