What Is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is an acute sleep disorder that occurs due to breathing interruptions during sleep. People who have sleep apnea can stop breathing multiple times during their sleep cycle. Loud snoring and daytime tiredness are some of the mild symptoms of this disorder. If left untreated, sleep apnea can give rise to serious health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and heart attacks.
Additionally, people with sleep apnea can get into work and driving-related accidents, cause job impairments, and struggle with poor academic performance.
What Are the Types of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be of three types:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is the most common type of sleep apnea, and that happens due to repeated relaxation and contraction of the throat muscles. The airway gets entirely or partially blocked, and it takes the collective effort of the chest muscles and diaphragm to force the airway to open.
Central Sleep Apnea
This type of sleep apnea occurs due to the absence of ventilatory effort, caused by poor central nervous system functioning. When the brain forgets to signal the respiratory muscles to breathe, an episode, or episodes, of central sleep apnea might occur. A typical central sleep apnea episode has almost a 10-second pause in breathing.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
This distinct sleep disorder is initially identified as obstructive sleep apnea but has frequent occurrences of central sleep apnea in patients undergoing CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy.
What are the Commonly Occurring Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The frequently occurring symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas are:
How Do Doctors Diagnose Sleep Apnea?
Patients showing symptoms of this disorder undergo a physical exam and a sleep study for a complete evaluation. The sleep study reveals the total sleep apnea episodes during an hour. It also checks the heart and brain activity during that hour.
Is There a Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
People diagnosed with sleep apnea undergo treatments according to the severity of their condition. Certain lifestyle changes, including losing weight, quitting smoking, or treating nasal allergies, can often treat minor to mild cases. CPAP therapy and other airway pressure devices are used to treat moderate to severe cases. Oral appliance therapy (or dental sleep therapy) is an alternative treatment that involves using dental appliances to keep an unobstructed airflow during sleep.
How is Dental Sleep Therapy Helpful for Patients with Sleep Apnea?
Dental appliances such as mouthpieces and mandibular advancement devices elevate the troublesome symptoms of sleep apnea by reducing snoring. These devices are quieter and more manageable than CPAP and work without electricity.
Schedule Your Dental Consultation Today!
Give us a call at (513) 829-4400 to book a consultation with Dr. Nelson R. Diers and Dr. Diers to discuss your sleep apnea symptoms and let us help you get a good night’s sleep.