Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by multiple breathing pauses during sleep that lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. Although pauses in breathing may sound harmless, sleep apnea episodes could occur from 5 to 100 times an hour! Some patients usually do not know that they have the condition unless pointed out by their bed partners or family members.
Noises can be made during an episode like snoring, snorting, choking, and gasping for air. Patients can be unproductive, irritated, moody, sleepy, extra tired or unfocused due to the lack of sleep. The pauses in breathing can cause a patient to wake up multiple times a night resulting in poor performance, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, weight gain, and more.
There are two types of the condition:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of apnea that occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse resulting in the blockage of the airway. The blockage of the airways causes the pauses in breathing, but if the obstruction is only partial vibrations are created resulting in loud snoring. OSA is usually associated with snoring, but not all snorers are considered to have the disorder.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs due to the failure of the brain on sending a signal to the muscles that control proper breathing. The pauses are more of an unstable respiratory control center than blockage on the airways. Since there is no blockage, CSA is usually not associated with snoring.
Sleep Apnea Remedies and Treatment
- Patients are advised to lose weight or maintain a healthy body. Weight gain can result in excess fats in the neck that can promote blockage of the airways during sleep (OSA).
- Avoid the intake of alcohol and sleeping pills. These have the effects of relaxing the soft tissues inside the mouth especially at the back of the throat that can block the airways.
- Try changing sleep position. Side sleeping is recommended since it can help open the airways and also prevent the soft-tissues from blocking the airways. By doing so patients can improve their breathing for better sleep.
- Using oral devices such as mouthguards. These mouthguards are specially made to aid patients with sleep apnea. It pushes the lower jaw forward to slightly open the airways for continuous breathing.
- Use of Dental devices. These are devices that are worn by patients to help prevent the episodes of sleep apnea. It works by delivering a steady and continuous supply of air to avoid breathing pauses by CSA.
The condition should not be disregarded since it has multiple negative effects on the appearance, performance, and health of the patient. That is why early treatment is vital for overall health and wellness.
If you’re suffering from a sleep disorder that causes breathing pauses, then it may be Sleep Apnea! Book your appointment immediately at Dream Dental for Sleep Apnea consultations in Goodlettsville, TN. You can visit us at 900 Conference Drive #6A, Goodlettsville, TN 37072.