What is Sleep Apnea?

Keller Texas Sleep Apnea.

Keller Texas Sleep Apnea. Call us today if you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from Sleep Apnea. Come see our staff at Jame Schreiner DDS.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleep disorder caused by breathing interruptions during sleep. It is defined by one or more pauses in the breathing pattern during sleep or general shallow breathing. In extreme cases, pauses can occur up to 30 or more times an hour.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Doctors have categorized sleep apnea into two types. The most common of the two is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Also known as OSA, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway, usually when the soft tissue of the back of the throat collapses during sleep. The second form of sleep apnea is Central Sleep Apnea also known as CAS. In CAS unlike OSA the airway is not blocked physically in any way, rather the lack of oxygenation occurs because the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.

How many people does it affect?

Recent studies have shown that over 22 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea, 80% being undiagnosed cases of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. It is important to get diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible as these disruptions can wreak havoc when left untreated.

Sleep apnea of any level means that oxygen is not flowing optimally through the body and to the vital organs. Over time this lack of oxygen can cause an array of problems.

Who is at Risk?

Although anyone can be affected by sleep apnea (even children) some risk factors include:

Being over the age of 40
Having a large neck 17 in> in men and 16 in> in women
Family History of Sleep Apnea
Having Large Tonsils, a large tongue or small jaw
Gastroesophageal Reflux or GERD
Nasal obstructions due to allergies, sinus problems or deviated septum

What are Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea symptoms can be elusive, which can make sleep apnea difficult to diagnose.

Sleep symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, sleep deprivation, snoring or nightmares.

Respiratory symptoms: episodes of no breathing, breathing through the mouth or loud breathing.

General symptoms include depression, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, irritability, mood swings, or even weight gain.

Most symptoms of sleep apnea can be misinterpreted by sufferers as separate issues when indeed they actually are related.

The disruptions caused by sleep apnea can wreak havoc if left untreated, as oxygen is not flowing optimally through the body and to vital organs as it should be. Be sure to call your dentist if you or a loved one are suffering from any of the above symptoms.

Sleep apnea may be a scary diagnosis at first but luckily it is both very manageable and treatable. Once diagnosed your dentist and doctors can work with you to find the best treatment for you. Treatments may include lifestyle changes such as weight loss as well as the use of a breathing assistance device as a CPAP at night. These machines ensure continuous positive airway pressure throughout the night so that you can rest assured and breathe easy!

Call us today if you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from Sleep Apnea.