Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person's breathing repeatedly stops and restarts while they’re asleep. The block of airflow can make it hard to stay asleep, and people with sleep apnea report waking up out of breath. Sleep apnea can be harmful to the brain, depriving it of oxygen. Lack of deep, restful sleep in severe cases can take a toll on your happiness, quality of life, and mental health. The causes of sleep apnea vary. There are many physical causes, medications, and other lifestyle factors that can affect sleep apnea. Often the mouth shows signs of sleep apnea. Scheduling an exam with Masci & Hale Advanced Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry can help detect sleep apnea.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s upper airway is blocked continuously during sleep, restricting airflow. Central sleep apnea is a condition of the brain. It does not send the correct signals to breathe, waking you up and leaving you out of breath. Sleep apnea can be caused by a person's physical structures or other medical conditions. Tonsils or adenoids can narrow your airway or enlarge, obstructing your esophagus during sleep. Nasal congestion or sinus issues can increase your likelihood of developing sleep apnea. You are three times as likely to have sleep apnea if you are male. If you smoke you are three times more likely to have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also be genetic. If you have any family members with sleep apnea, it increases your likelihood of having sleep apnea. Congestive heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinsons are a few chronic diseases that can increase your chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
The Effects Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea makes it hard to get a good night's sleep. People with sleep apnea have reported difficulties operating machinery and staying awake while driving. Along with snoring, you may find yourself being suddenly awakened, and gasping for air. Your brain receives reduced levels of oxygen for an average of eight hours a day, every day. Most noticeably, sleep apnea can cause loud snoring, making it hard for you or your partner to sleep. Sleep apnea can develop symptoms of depression in people and lower one's ability to balance their moods. The morning after-effects can include irritability, fatigue, lowered vigilance, lack of concentration, and decreased motor skills. Bruxism or grinding of the teeth has been related to obstructive sleep apnea. This condition can make it difficult to fall asleep, and stay asleep. People have reported their sleep apnea having side effects of restlessness and insomnia.
Treatments For Sleep Apnea
Participating in a sleep study can help diagnose sleep apnea. In these studies, doctors record the number of slowed or stopped breathing events and central sleep apnea events in an hour. They also check if oxygen levels in the blood are low during these events. Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines are a common sleep apnea treatment. If you are overweight, lifestyle changes like weight loss can help alleviate sleep apnea. Not consuming alcohol and sleeping on your side are other common lifestyle changes that reduce sleep apnea. When dealing with sleep apnea, your dentist may be the first to know.
If you suspect that you or a family member may be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a dental exam with Masci & Hale Advanced Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry today. Call 845-769-0160 today to schedule an appointment.