Approximately 1 in 6 people over the age of 50 have at least mild sleep apnea, and about 75 percent of severe sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed.
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder. The condition is characterized by the sudden cessation of breathing while a person is asleep, in some cases, hundreds of time in a single night. This means the brain becomes oxygen-deprived, and the body suffers from several adverse health conditions.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Here are the major types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. This occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax to such an extent that they slump down and close off your airway. When you stop breathing, the oxygen level in your blood lowers. Your brain senses the sudden stop in breathing and wakes you up so that you can unblock your airways. The awakening period is so tiny that you don’t even remember it.
People with obstructive sleep apnea often snort, gasp, choke, and snore loudly in their sleep. They also suffer from impaired sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is unable to send proper signals to your breathing muscles. This means that the muscles responsible for controlling respiration stop working for a short time, resulting in shortness of breath and inability to sleep peacefully.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Complex sleep apnea involves the characteristics of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea may overlap, making diagnosis difficult. Some of the most common signs of the disorder include:
Complications of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect your overall mental and physical health. Some complications include:
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
There are various therapeutic and surgical ways that sleep apnea can be treated:
Adjusting Sleep Habits
We may recommend sleeping on your side rather than on your back.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A CPAP device delivers air through the nasal cavity through a mask while you are sleeping. A CPAP device produces an air pressure that is slightly greater than the air pressure in your environment and is enough to keep your airways opened.
Certain oral appliances, like night mouthguards and splints, can shift your jaw forward in order to keep your airways open. These are good options for when you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and can also help treat snoring. These devices are very easy to use.
You can get night mouthguards from Jonathan J. Golab, DDS, PA that are custom-made to fit your mouth. Read more about oral appliance therapy
Surgery of the upper airways is recommended when therapeutic options are not effective. Depending on the extent and location of the blockage, the surgery can be conservative or more invasive. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the tonsil or some other soft tissue from the throat or palate.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call us at (469) 444-7919 and consult with Dr. Jonathan Golab. Treatment can help you resolve the symptoms and prevent other physical disorders.