What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you have sleep apnea, you may snore loudly. You may also experience periods of shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea can occur at any age, but it is more common in adults. It is also more common in men than women and in people who are overweight.
If you have sleep apnea, you may be at risk for serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Treatment can help prevent these problems.
The different types of sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and mixed. Central sleep apnea is caused by a problem with the brain’s ability to control breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which affects an estimated 18 million Americans. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. This can cause snoring, gasping, or choking sounds as you try to breathe.
The symptoms of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly and may feel tired during the day.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep, waking up with a dry mouth or headache, and feeling tired during the day.
The causes of sleep apnea
There are many different factors that can contribute to sleep apnea, including obesity, smoking, alcohol use, and certain medical conditions. People with chronic illnesses like heart disease or diabetes are also at increased risk for developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea treatments
Treatment for sleep apnea often includes lifestyle changes like losing weight or quitting smoking, as well as using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help keep the airway open during sleep.
Sleep apnea and your dentist
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can have devastating consequences. The good news is that your dentist can help you treat it.
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. This can happen dozens or even hundreds of times a night. As a result, you may snore loudly, feel tired during the day, and have difficulty concentrating. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death.
Fortunately, your dentist can play an important role in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. If you think you might have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist about it. He or she can perform a simple test to check for signs of sleep apnea and refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation if necessary.
Give our Costa Mesa dental office a call today at (714) 434-7100 to discuss any sleep apnea concerns you may have.