Do you wake up in the morning feeling groggy? Does your spouse or partner complain about your snoring, which can sometimes be so loud that they are forced to sleep on the couch or in the guest room? Do you maybe experience lack of concentration and headaches during the day? These all can be effects of sleep apnea.
This sleeping disorder is a common condition for many people and most of them aren’t even aware of it, which of course prevents them to search for treatment options and seek medical attention. Hopefully this information will help you better understand this disability and help you treat it.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
People that suffer from this disorder stop breathing repeatedly during the night, wake up abruptly in order to draw in a breath. This disorder can occur in several different ways.
During sleep, the muscles in our airways relax. For some people, this means that the airways close completely while they are sleeping. This is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Unlike Obstructive, the Central Sleep Apnea isn’t caused by a blockage. With this type the main “culprit” is your brain which is supposed to regulate the muscles responsible for your breathing. This is what leaves you short of breath. People that suffer from this form of disorder also experience insomnia and have trouble staying asleep throughout the night.
The third type is called the Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome. This is when people experience both types of the disorder at once, so their airways is blocked and they have problems with brain signaling.
What problems can it cause?
When you don’t get enough quality sleep during the night, you will fee sleepy during the day. Too much daytime sleepiness can hinder your productivity at work and it can also impact your quality of life. But there can be far more serious consequences to sleep apnea.
For example, because of sleep apnea, your oxygen level can decrease, which can cause damage on your heart, resulting in higher blood pressure and it can also hurt your brain too.
According to some research, sleep apnea may also be causing insulin resistance which can eventually turn into type 2 diabetes.
If sleep apnea isn’t treated and you need to have surgery, you can be prone to complications due to anesthesia.
What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?
In order to minimize and prevent harmful effects, it’s important that you have it diagnosed promptly. Sometimes simple lifestyle changes are enough to prevent sleep apnea from occurring. This particularly applies to people that are overweight.
Sometimes, when other solutions fail, oral surgery can be the next thing. Different types of oral surgeries, like nasal surgery which opens up the airways, could be a good option in order to create proper airflow into your lungs. Tonsillectomy (tonsil removal), removing tissue from y our soft palate etc. can all increase the size of your airways.
For some patients, the real cause is the shape of their lower jaw. In this case, jaw surgery is necessary where the surgeon uses titanium plates to remedy the imperfections and abnormalities.
If you’re experiencing some of the symptoms described above, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor and see if you can determine the right cause of the disorder. And if you need a routine dental checkup or cleaning, contact us today.