Sleep apnea, as the name suggest, is a sleep disorder that happens when breathing is interrupted during sleep. If left untreated, the person experiences repeated moments when he stops breathing while asleep. This can happen up to hundreds of time in a night. The danger here is the brain and the entire body isn’t getting enough oxygen.
Kinds of Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea;
Central Sleep Apnea: in which case there is some kind of instability or issue with the respiratory control center. The brain simply isn’t telling the muscles to breath. This condition is also known as CSA for short.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: this type is what most people experience. In this case, the person experiences some kind of blockage in the airway. This blockage typically happens when the soft tissue located in the back of the throat collapses while the person is sleeping. This condition is also known as OSA for short.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
There are multiple potential causes for sleep apnea. This condition is more common in males although females do experience it as well. Men with neck sizes greater than 17 inches and 16 inches or more for women are more prone to sleep apnea. People prone to sleep apnea include those who are;
- Have small jaw bone, large tongue or large tonsils
- Are aged over 40 years
- Have Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
- Have a nasal obstruction such as sinus problems, allergies or deviated septum
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
There are multiple common symptoms of sleep apnea. You may experience some or most of these symptoms including;
- Grinding teeth during sleep
- Waking up in the middle of the night with a gasping or choking sensation
- Waking up to a very dry throat or sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Snoring loudly during sleep
- Waking up tired or drained of energy
- Moodiness and memory problems
Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition and can have serious ramifications if left untreated. Some of the common effects of prolonged sleep apnea include;
- Fatigue during the day
- Heart problems and high blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Teeth problems from constant grinding
- Liver problems
- Metabolic syndrome
It is important that you seek treatment if you suspect that you might have sleep apnea. This is also an issue to bring up with your dentist on your next appointment especially if you are taking medication for your condition. Fortunately, the condition is treatable and manageable especially if detected and treated in its early phases.