What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a highly manageable disorder that causes disruptions in breathing throughout the night. Sleep apnea can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep leaving you irritable from lack of rest. You can stop breathing due to airflow blockage or disrupted signals from the brain to the airway until the brain wakes you up in order to restart breathing.
Our Cool Springs dentist, Dr. Rice, will partner with local health professionals and general physicians to help treat your sleep apnea. Coming up with a personalized treatment plan, we can ensure that you are sleeping better and wake up feeling refreshed.
The Three Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep, causing the throat to collapse and block the airway. Deep snoring, gasping or choking, and wheezing are all signs of OSA.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): CSA makes up nearly 20% of sleep apnea cases. It can be more difficult to treat because it occurs when the signals between the brain and lungs are disrupted. This causes changes in breathing patterns which can result in sufferers experiencing shallow breathing or stop breathing altogether during sleep.
Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea cases are a mixture of both OSA and CSA. With each apneic episode, the brain partially and periodically awakens the patient to resume breathing.
The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea
When left untreated, sleep apnea can put you at risk for a number of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, heart attacks, and heart palpitations
- Worsening ADHD
- Chronic headaches
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to start sleep apnea treatment, a general physician or sleep specialist will perform a sleep study to determine how you are being affected while you sleep. If it’s determined that sleep apnea is causing disruptions in your breathing while you sleep, you can then be referred to Dr. Rice for treatment using custom-made oral appliances or laser treatment.
In some cases, an unhealthy lifestyle, such as being overweight, smoking, or excessive drinking may contribute to the severity of sleep apnea.