Sleep apnea is a somber and potentially life-threatening disease in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. Although it often affects obese men, sleep apnea can occur in women, men who are not overweight, and children.
People who have obstructive sleep apnea can stop breathing for ten seconds or longer hundreds or more times a night. When breathing stops, oxygen blood saturation levels in the blood fall. The lack of oxygen in the blood causes irregular heartbeat as the heart is trying to pump more blood to deliver oxygen. Increased blood pressure (hypertension) because the vessels constrict trying to force more blood through the body. Heart attacks because the heart is being overworked. Strokes because of the high blood pressure in the brain.
For these serious medical reasons, it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms. Why see a dentist for sleep apnea?
TYPES OF SLEEP APNEA ARE:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — a common disorder that occurs when muscles inside the throat relax and cause tissue at the back of the throat and tongue to collapse. The tissue blocks the airway, and prevents air from getting to the lungs
Central sleep apnea is less common than OSA. It occurs when the brain does not correctly signal the lungs to take in air and oxygen. Central Apnea is treated by a Neurologist.
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA INCLUDE:
- Loud, irregular snoring
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Gaining weight and being overweight or obese
- Being sleepy and having little energy during the day
- Having headaches in the morning
- Falling asleep while driving
- Urinating frequently during the night
- Irritability and relationship problems
- Performing poorly at work
- An increase in accidents at home, work, and in the car
Read more about Health Risks of Sleep Apnea.
RISK FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA INCLUDES:
- Large tongue
- Small jaw
- Excess tissue at the back of the throat
- Deviated nasal septum
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Being middle aged and overweight or obese
- Chronic sinusitis
- Nasal polyps
RISK FOR CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA INCLUDES:
- Being elderly
- Heart disease
Although snoring is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, you can snore and not have sleep apnea. Dr. Nugent was tested for Sleep Apnea with a Home Sleep Test (HST). His results showed that he snores but does not have obstructive sleep apnea.
If you snore, Drs. Nugent and West can get you set up to take a home sleep test. A sleep test is the ONLY way to determine if you have sleep apnea.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
After a sleep study is taken it will be read by a Board Certifies Sleep Physician. The Sleep Doctor will give a diagnosis and recommend treatment. This treatment may include:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – Most often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea because that is what Medical Doctors know. They did not get training in medical school that ether are other options for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine involves placing a mask connected to an air compressor. The machine rams air down the throat preventing the airway from collapsing. Understandably, lots of patients cannot tolerate this treatment.
- Oral appliances – Oral appliances, also called Mandibular Advancement Devices, are plastic mouth guards that move the tongue and jaw forward. This slight movement forward prevents the tissue from occluding the airway.
- Surgery – Surgery can be used to correct anatomic problems that contribute to snoring, including enlarged tonsils, enlarged adenoids, nasal polyps, deviated septum, and jaw malformation. Although surgery is among the most effective ways to treat snoring, it often is not effective for adults with sleep apnea
- Weight loss – Research shows that many overweight and obese people experience obstructive sleep apnea. Patients who are disposed to to obstructive sleep apnea can greatly reduce severity of the condition with weight loss.
Deer Park Texas residents, don’t suffer with snoring or sleep apnea. See how dentists can help with sleep apnea. Call our office today at 832-487-0647. Visit us at 3421 Burke Rd #1, Pasadena, Texas 77504.