Sleep apnea occurs during sleep when there are interruptions in breathing and the person finds it hard to fall asleep. Those who suffer from untreated sleep apnea may stop breathing several to hundreds of times during the night. The dental professionals at Singing River Dentistry can offer you sleep apnea solutions to help you get the rest you need and feel better overall.
Sleep apnea can be classified into three types: obstructive, mixed, and central. It is probably safe to say that the most familiar of all sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea. When this happens, the upper airway becomes partially or fully obstructed. When a person has sleep apnea, the chest muscles and diaphragm work harder to keep the airway open with the increasing pressure. Breathing usually resumes and the person gasps loudly or their body shakes them awake. There are many dangers associated with episodes like these, including decreased oxygen to vital organs, disruption of sleep, and problems with heart rhythm.
During central sleep apnea, airways are not blocked. However, the brain is unable to send signals to the muscles in the chest to breathe because of unpredictability in the respiratory control center. The occurrence of central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system, and oral appliance therapy does not treat the condition.
Mixed sleep apnea is a disorder that incorporates both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Who Gets Sleep Apnea?
About 25 percent of men and nearly 10 percent of women are affected by obstructive sleep apnea. It is becoming more and more evident that obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health concern that affects all ages, including children and babies, but particularly people over the age of 40 and adults that are overweight. It is known that several physical characteristics and clinical features are common in patients who have obstructive sleep apnea. Among these are a large neck, excessive weight, and structural abnormalities reducing the diameter of the upper airway, such as enlarged tonsils, a low hanging soft palate, nasal obstructions, or a small jaw that has an overbite.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
When the soft tissue lining the back of the throat collapses during sleep, it can cause an obstruction to the airway. People with central sleep disorders usually have other conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as those who have suffered a stroke or people with neuromuscular diseases that make their central nervous system dysfunctional. This condition is also often caused by heart failure and other types of cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
It is important to note that obstructive sleep apnea can cause several health problems including, arrhythmias, stroke, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks if it is left untreated. In addition, without proper medical treatment, sleep apnea may be to blame for work-related injuries, job impairment, and vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in teenagers and children.
Please feel free to contact us at Singing River Dentistry if sleep apnea is preventing you from enjoying your life to the fullest. You will receive an examination and we will find solutions to your problem. To arrange an appointment, please contact us at (256) 904-4220.