WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. Each pause can last for a few seconds to a few minutes and these can occur many times each night, This is most commonly followed by loud snoring, choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes. As the disorder disrupts normal sleep, those affected may experience sleepiness or feel tired during the day. In children, it may cause problems in school or hyperactivity.
There are three forms of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and a combination of the two called mixed. OSA is the most common form.
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HOW CAN SLEEP APNEA BE TREATED?
Oral appliance therapy
Since sleep apnea is a severe condition, an effective approach is critical.
At Top Smile clinic, we offer an effective alternative called Oral Appliance Therapy. A custom oral appliance is designed to gently adjust the jaw allowing for the free flow of air during sleep. Many patients find this treatment option preferable to CPAP therapy. It can provide relief for patients with mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. It can also be used in conjunction with CPAP therapy for patients who suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea.
SLEEP APNEA SIDE AFFECTS
Frequent night time sleep disruption associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible. People with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue, and irritability. They may also have difficulty concentrating and find themselves falling asleep at work, whilst watching TV or even when driving. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents.
High blood pressure or heart problems
Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you do not.
Loud snoring can keep those around you from getting a proper night’s rest and cause sleep deprivation which can eventually disrupt your relationships. It’s not uncommon for a partner to go to another room, or even to a different floor of the house, to be able to fall asleep.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Sleep apnea can cause several health complications. When your breathing stops, the oxygen level in your blood can drop. This drop can strain your cardiovascular system making your heart work harder. People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, having irregular heartbeats and diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Some warning signs of sleep apnea include loud or frequent snoring; silent pauses in breathing; choking or gasping sounds; daytime sleepiness or fatigue; drowsiness; insomnia; morning headaches as well as nocturnal behaviors (waking during the night to go to the bathroom).
It's well known in medical circles that an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with the vast majority of cases still undiagnosed. Some statistics on sleep apnea mortality estimate that at least 38,000 people die annually from heart disease directly complicated by sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing several times a night. When this happens, your blood oxygen levels rapidly decrease, which can cause your heart rhythm to flutter. The longer your symptoms go untreated the higher your chance for heart disease, stroke, or cardiac arrest.
To qualify for disability benefits, your symptoms must be severe or have a diagnosis of cor pulmonale to be considered for disability payments or benefits.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk.
- Excess weight.: Obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing.
- Neck circumference: People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.
- A narrowed airway: You might have inherited a narrow throat. Tonsils or adenoids also can enlarge and block the airway, particularly in children.
- Gender: Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.
- Being older: Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
- Family history.: Having family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquillizers: These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea.
- Smoking: Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
- Nasal congestion: If you have difficulty breathing through your nose — whether from an anatomical problem or allergies — you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Sleeping position
- Using a humidifier in your bedroom
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Regular exercises which can increase your energy level, strengthen your heart, and improve sleep apnea.
We welcome you to contact our Sydney dental clinic for a consultation to discuss your snoring issues or sleep apnea. Dr. Sam Fouad provides effective solutions ensuring positive results to having a better night’s sleep, bettering your overall health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.