August 15, 2022

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder that contributes to serious health issues if not treated correctly. They can lead to health issues like hypertension (high blood pressure), strokes, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, diabetes, and even heart attacks. Untreated sleep apnea leads to repetitive stoppage of breathing during sleep, loud snoring, and daytime fatigue. 

The patient feels tired even after sleeping through the night. Untreated sleep apnea can severely impair the person to work and operate vehicles efficiently. Consult a family dental practice in Dacula, GA, for appropriate sleep apnea treatment. 

Types of Apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

It is more commonly observed in comparison to the other types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea takes place in repetitive episodes. The upper airway is either entirely or partially blocked during sleep. When an apneic episode happens, the muscles of the diaphragm and chest muscles start to work harder as there is an increase in pressure to open the airway. Breathing is resumed following a gasp or jerking of the body. These episodes can disrupt sleep and lead to a reduction in the flow of oxygen to essential organs. They also cause irregularities in the rhythm of the heart.

  • Central sleep apnea

In this kind of apnea, there is no blockage of the airway. It occurs when the brain fails to give signals to the muscles for breathing as a result of an unstable respiratory control center. Central apnea is linked with the functioning of the central nervous system.

Traits of Apnea Patients

Obesity is often observed in patients diagnosed with sleep apnea. They also have large-sized necks and other structural abnormalities like over-obstructed nasal parts, enlargement of tonsils, overbite jaws, and a soft palate hanging low.

Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea happens due to a blockage in the airway. It occurs during the collapse of the rear part of the throat during sleep. On the other hand, central sleep apnea occurs due to a dysfunctional nervous system. It is common in patients with ALS and heart or kidney diseases.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Common symptoms in apnea patients include snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness, waking up suddenly after choking sensations, dry mouth or sore throat, sweating during the night, and frequent headaches. It also has cognitive impacts like poor concentration, poor memory, and mood swings.

Whom does it affect?

Sleep apnea affects about 25% of men and around 10% of women. Sleep apnea can happen to people of all ages, especially those that are over the age of 50 and obese.

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