Sleep Apnea 101: All You Need to Know

Sleep Apnea 101: All You Need to Know

Sep 01, 2020

Often when people snore, it is usually subtle and rarely causes any problems. However, if you frequently snore loudly and wake up tired, you could be suffering from sleep apnea despite a full night’s sleep.

Chronic sleep apnea can lead to other health complications such as depression, heart disease, and drowsiness.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous and life-threatening sleeping disorder that occurs when breathing starts and stops when you are sleeping. The three types of sleep apnea include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

When we are asleep, there is rhythmic airflow from the mouth and nose and into the lungs. However, due to certain factors, the throat muscles can relax, causing the airways to narrow. This will affect the flow of oxygen.

When the oxygen levels fall below the recommended amount, the brain will force you to awaken to reopen the airways. This phenomenon occurs in a split of a second, and you may not remember it. However, it affects your quality of sleep because often time you wake up tired.

Also, with sleep apnea, instead of nasal breathing, most people breathe through the mouth, which worsens the situation. This is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

  • Central Sleep Apnea

Similar to the Obstructive Sleep Apnea, CSA also causes an involuntary interruption in your breathing. However, this problem occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to your muscles that control breathing.

CSA is a less common type, and at times it occurs as a result of other conditions such as stroke or heart failure.

  • Complete Sleep Apnea Syndrome

This is the combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Overweight and obesity are common causes of OSA in adults. Sleep apnea is usually caused by enlarged adenoids and tonsils or dental conditions such as overbites in children.

Other risk factors include:

  • Narrow neck circumference and narrow airways
  • Smoking
  • Gender (sleep apnea affects more men than women)
  • Nasal congestion

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Several treatments are available that can ease sleep apnea symptoms or get rid of the disorder altogether. These treatments are designed to help with airway management and relieve the obstruction.

Since excess weight and obesity are the primary causes, losing weight and lifestyle changes is the primary treatment option. If these measures are insufficient, then the dentist may recommend other treatment options such as:

1.Therapies 

Some of the sleep apnea therapies that can be used include:

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is commonly used to open up the airways and promote nasal breathing.
  • Oral appliances are an ideal option for people who do not want the CPAP devices. The appliances push the jaw forward and relieve snoring.

2.Home remedies 

Sometimes using home remedies can help relieve mild sleep apnea. Remedies like yoga, exercise, and a sleeping position change can improve respiratory strength and oxygen flow.

You can also use a humidifier that adds moisture to the air to prevent respiratory irritation.

Stop drinking alcohol to reduce the complications of sleep apnea. Consumption of alcohol causes your breathing muscles to relax. This explains why people snore after taking too much alcohol.

3.Surgery 

The doctor may recommend surgery if all these measures fail to relieve the sleep apnea symptoms. Some surgery types include:

  • Tissue removal. The surgery is done to remove tissues from the mouth and throat. If you have enlarged tonsils and adenoids are removed.
  • Jaw repositioning involves moving the jaw forward to reduce obstruction.
  • Tissue shrinkage and implants
  • Nerve stimulation involves the use of a stimulator to control the nerves in the tongue. This will help to keep the tongue in the proper position.

What are the Long-term Complications of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes health complications like:

  • Daytime fatigue and drowsiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Liver problems

Schedule an Appointment

If you often snore and wake up with fatigue, it is time to seek sleep apnea treatment. Visit Laguna Family Dentistry for an assessment to determine which sleep apnea you have. We will; also discuss the different treatment options and which is ideal for you.