Sleep apnea is a disorder that can have a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life. Loud, disruptive snoring is typically the first sign of sleep apnea and can affect a person’s daytime mood, energy, and memory.
Some factors that have been found to be associated with sleep apnea include:
- Gender– Males are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea
- Age– Older adults typically have sleep apnea
- Obese or overweight
- Large neck circumference
- Enlarged tissues, such as tonsils or adenoids
- Alcohol consumption
- Tobacco intake
The Different Types Of
The sleep disorder may be seen in three different forms, however, there are two that are more common– central and obstructive. The third type of sleep apnea is known as mixed, and it’s a combination of the other two. Generally, the majority of our patients suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but it’s crucial to know the difference to help distinguish your disorder.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain and the nervous system fail to communicate through proper breathing signals. This means your ability to breathe is impaired and you may wake up short of breath or have trouble falling asleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The more common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when there’s an obstruction in the throat that interrupts your breathing pattern. The obstruction typically occurs when the soft muscles in the throat relax, causing you to snore and blocking your airway.
You’ll stop breathing for seconds at a time, but your brain senses this and will quickly awaken you so you can return to proper breathing. This arousal is so brief that many don’t even recall waking up. However, this pattern can repeat up to 30 times per hour throughout the night, damaging the quality of your sleep.
Symptoms and How it Affects
Along with raucous snoring, other symptoms patients initially notice include daytime fatigue, memory loss, irritability, and insomnia. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to major health risks, and in severe cases, death.
Research has found that sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart failure, type 2 diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure. In order to help avoid these life-threatening ailments, it’s best to seek out treatment as soon as you or a loved one suspect the sleep disorder.
If I snore, does that mean I have sleep apnea?
It’s very possible, but snoring isn’t always a determining factor of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea sufferers snore when there’s a blockage in their airway that’s interfering with their ability to breathe properly. If your snoring is accompanied by large gasps for air, abrupt awakenings, and excessive daytime drowsiness, then we recommend you receive a sleep study.
How do I get diagnosed for sleep apnea?
If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, or if we believe you have the condition, we will offer a sleep test right away.
During a sleep test, you’ll be carefully evaluated overnight so our team can confirm if you have sleep apnea or not. We will also provide a rhinometer and pharyngometer analysis to measure your nasal capacity and airway size.
What are common symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea that most of our patients notice are:
- Sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Gasping for air or choking in the middle of the night
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
- Insomnia or recurring awakenings
- Morning headaches
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea is typically first treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, many patients give up on using their CPAP because its noisy, claustrophobic, and overall inconvenient.
We offer alternative sleep apnea solutions that are easier to use, silent, and small — an oral appliance. These mouthpieces are customized for each patient and help you achieve a well-rested sleep without interruptions.