Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods in your sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. With this type, when you breathe in, the soft tissue in your throat collapses and blocks your airway. This prevents you from getting the oxygen you need while you sleep. Your brain registers this lack of oxygen and wakes you up to restart your breathing. This can disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to other complications like daytime sleepiness, fatigue, or memory loss. If you suffer from sleep apnea symptoms, contact Valenta Dental for treatment options.
The Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are various reasons why someone could have sleep apnea, but the most common cause is excessive tissue in the airway. This is common in people who are overweight and in those who have excess neck tissue or fat deposits around their throats. Other reasons include obesity, the use of alcohol, smoking, and the use of sedative medications.
During sleep, the muscles become more relaxed. If someone has a large tongue or frequently swallows their saliva during sleep, they may experience obstruction of their airways. Those suffering from acid reflux may also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea because stomach acid can rise into the throat and cause irritation and inflammation when lying at night.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is a widely used and highly effective treatment for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep, which delivers a continuous stream of pressurized air to keep the airway open. The increased air pressure helps prevent the airway's collapse, reducing apnea episodes and improving breathing during sleep.
Oral appliances are custom-made devices worn in the mouth during sleep. They are designed to reposition the jaw and tongue, helping to keep the airway open and reduce snoring and sleep apnea episodes. Oral appliances are typically recommended for mild to moderate sleep apnea or individuals who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy.
Certain lifestyle modifications can help improve sleep apnea symptoms. These may include weight loss, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, sleeping on the side instead of the back, and maintaining good sleep hygiene.
Surgery may be considered for severe cases of sleep apnea when other treatments have not been successful or are not well-tolerated. Surgical options can include procedures to remove excess tissue, correct structural abnormalities in the airway, or reposition the jaw. Surgical treatment is typically assessed individually and may require consultation with an ear, nose, and throat or sleep medicine specialist.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. Visit Valenta Dental at 1838 Dunlap Ave, Marinette, WI 54143, or call (715) 735-5626 for the best dental care tailored to your unique needs.