Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can cause disruptions in sleep, fatigue, and even contribute to serious health problems. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes of it and what ways to treat it with the help of a sleep apnea dentist in San Antonio, Tx.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. It can cause loud snoring, restless sleep, and fatigue during the day. It is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
What are The Symptoms?
As your sleep is disturbed frequently through the night due to breathing issues, you may notice a change in mood or energy levels throughout the day. Some common symptoms are
- Loud snoring, enough to wake up other people in the room
- Waking up in the middle of the night due to shortness of breath
- Making gasping noises during sleep
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Feeling sleepy all-day
- Being unable to concentrate
- Having irritable mood all-day
While snoring is observed in many cases of sleep apnea, some patients with this don’t snore loudly. And snoring is not always a sign of apnea too.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
There are two types of sleep apnea:
1. Obstructive sleep apnea
It happens when the muscles in the back of your throat collapse. As a result, your airway is partially or completely obstructed. Your brain feels your inability to breathe properly and thus wakes you up from sleep to open up your airways again.
This pattern can repeat itself every few minutes through the night, disabling you from reaching the deep sleep phase.
2. Central sleep apnea
It is a less common form of sleep apnea that occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to breathe. You stop breathing for a few minutes which can awaken you frequently and even leave you short of breath. It can affect anyone, even children but is most common in adults, especially males. While the exact cause is not yet known,
There are several risk factors that increase the chances of apnea.
- Obesity or excessive fat especially around the neck greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. As those fat deposits block your airways when you sleep.
- People with thicker necks might also have narrower airways which can cause obstructive apnea.
- Tonsils or adenoids when enlarged can block the airway and are the leading cause of sleep apnea in children.
- Using alcohol, sedatives, or other drugs that are muscle relaxants can also worsen obstructive apnea.
- Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation in muscles which can make your airways narrower.
- Allergies or nasal congestion can also make it difficult for you to breathe properly during sleep leading to obstructive apnea.
- Medical conditions like congestive heart failure, PCOS, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and chronic lung diseases can also increase the risk of obstructive apnea.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by your primary care provider or even a apnea dentist. They will evaluate your symptoms and conduct some tests if required to find out if you have apnea.
The most common test is a sleep test where your breathing is monitored while you sleep for signs of breathing difficulty. Even some imaging can help identify any muscles that are blocking your airways.
How is It Treated?
Most patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea benefit from using a CPAP machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while they sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) delivers air at higher pressure which keeps your airways open and prevents snoring and apnea. CPAP machines are the most common and reliable method of treating sleep apnea but some people find it uncomfortable.
In such cases, an oral device that prevents your muscles from collapsing while sleeping can help patients feel more comfortable. These devices are customized by dentists and help adjust your jaw position in sleep to relieve any obstructions in breathing. In some cases, treating the root cause of it can also help you breathe better. For eg. losing excess weight and removing tonsils or adenoids can remove pressure from your airways.
If you are looking to treat apnea, visit Stone Oak Aesthetics to consult a cosmetic dentist in San Antonio Texas. They can examine your symptoms and treat your apnea with the help of a CPAP machine or oral devices.
If left untreated, it can lead to other health conditions and can even be life-threatening. So if you live in San Antonio, call up Stone Oaks Aesthetics or visit their website to schedule a consultation for apnea treatment.
Also read: Top Reasons to Never Miss a Dentist’s Appointment