A Brief Guide To Understanding Sleep Apnea

12 January 2023
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Do you feel like your sleep is constantly interrupted and disrupted, leaving you exhausted during the day? You may be suffering from a common but serious condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops for short periods while you are sleeping, which can cause loud snoring and fragmented sleep.

Luckily, there are treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms of this disorder so you can get a good night's rest. Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and how to find relief.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted while you're asleep. This can be caused by either a partial or complete airway blockage. When this happens, your breathing will stop and start abruptly, causing you to wake up briefly throughout the night and preventing you from getting quality sleep.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can cause several serious and debilitating health problems if left untreated. For instance, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, weight gain, and even depression.

There are two main types of sleep apnea, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when there is a blockage due to collapsed or enlarged tissue in the upper airway. The other type is central sleep apnea (CSA) which occurs when your brain does not signal your muscles to breathe.

People who suffer from either type of apnea will experience similar symptoms, such as loud snoring, restlessness during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and headaches upon waking up. Consequently, it's essential for anyone experiencing any of these symptoms to get checked by a doctor as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis.

What Are the Different Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?

When treating sleep apnea, the primary treatment option is usually a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This type of machine provides a constant stream of air pressure through a mask worn throughout the night, which helps keep the airway open and reduces occurrences of snoring and apneic episodes. It is usually prescribed for those with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

In addition to CPAP, there are several other treatment options for sleep apnea patients, depending on their circumstances. These include dental appliances that reposition the jaw and tongue to help maintain an open airway during sleep. Surgery is also an option for some cases where the airway needs to be enlarged or structures need to be removed.

Finally, lifestyle changes such as weight loss, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol before bed can also help improve sleep apnea symptoms. These changes are especially important for those with mild sleep apnea as they can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce your symptoms' severity.

It's important to note that the best treatment option for you depends on your type of sleep apnea and your situation. Talk to a certified sleep doctor or dentist to discuss which treatment is right for you.