What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that involves having trouble breathing regularly during sleep. There are two forms—obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common and occurs when breathing is briefly, but repeatedly interrupted during sleep. It means that the muscles in the back of the throat have failed to keep airways open. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can be at risk for sleep apnea, but there are a few things that may put someone at higher risk. For example, having a small upper airway can make you more vulnerable to respiratory issues. Other things that put you at risk include:
- A large tongue, tonsils, or uvula
- Being overweight
- A recessed chin
- Small jaw
- Large overbite
- Large neck size
- Smoking and alcohol use
- Being age 40 or older
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, there are many symptoms to look for. The most common symptom is chronic snoring. People who suffer from sleep apnea often have trouble sleeping and may experience sleep deprivation, excessive sleepiness, or disturbed sleep. Other symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, or high blood pressure. Sleep apnea can also contribute to other serious conditions such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, or stroke.
Treatments Options for Sleep Apnea
Once you’ve determined that you have sleep apnea, there are a few different courses of action. One option may be dental appliances that can reposition the lower jaw. You may also want to try some lifestyle changes such as living a more active lifestyle, losing weight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, and so on. There may also be surgical options to open up airways in the upper respiratory system. Using a CPAP mask is also a quick fix that is very effective. These masks fit over the nose and mouth to blow air gently through airways during sleep.
Treatment options may differ based on each person, the severity of their condition, and personal preferences. Many people may want to avoid a CPAP mask as it can make sleeping uncomfortable. Surgery options may be a more long-term solution to getting your restful night’s sleep back. At Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah, our trained team of professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your desired result. Our top priorities are your health and comfort.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, see your doctor. They may refer you to a sleep center where you can determine a plan of action. Usually, sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study that requires an overnight stay.