What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more in an hour. When normal breathing starts again, it is met with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea is an ongoing condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move through sleep states from deep sleep into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, causing you to become more tired during the day.

Types of Sleep Apnea & Diagnosis

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. During your general physical visit, your primary doctor typically can’t detect the condition since blood test and urine samples don’t detect the condition. A family member or significant other may be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea.

When seeking diagnosis, it is important to know that there are two types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

The most common of the two forms of sleep apnea. It is caused by a blockage in the airway when soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea:

The least common of the two forms of sleep apnea. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you’re experiencing a choking or gasping sensation during sleep, restless sleep, or fatigue during the day you could have sleep apnea. Other symptoms that could affect your sleep patterns and daily living include waking up with a sore or dry throat, snoring loudly, morning headaches, forgetfulness, and even mood swings.

Risk Factors

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Being male
  • Being overweight
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
  • Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
  • Having a family history of sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (stomach contents leak backwards into the esophagus)
  • Nasal obstruction due to deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

Negative Effects on Your Health

Imagine having a house of cards stacked up on a table. If you remove one card, any card, the whole stack comes tumbling down. That’s the reality of having a condition like sleep apnea. Not only does it affect your sleep but can affect your overall physical health. Sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems from heart failure and heart attacks to high blood pressure to diabetes and even depression.

Treatment

Dental devices are an effective treatment option to keep the airway open and prevent snoring, especially during obstructive sleep apnea. The device is worn only during sleep and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.

At Advanced DDS, we help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. You’ll be given an easy to use take home testing kit so that you can be comfortable and get the most effective results. The kit contains a small device that you strap to your chest before going to sleep for the night. It generates data based on your respiratory system controls.

Call us today at (516) 825-1100 to start your take Home Sleep Test.

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