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What is Sleep Apnea?: 7 Facts About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleeping disorder that occurs when there is a pause in breathing during sleep. Breathing can stop and start many times again throughout the night—causing one to wake up frequently. Sleep apnea makes it very difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.

There are many common misconceptions and unknowns about sleep apneas. Today, we’re sharing a few facts about sleep apnea and the risks it presents. 

1. There are multiple kinds of sleep apnea.

There are three different kinds of sleep apnea—central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send a signal to the muscles needed to take a breath. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles need to take a breath fail to because airways are obstructed. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. 

2. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening.

Sleep apnea can put you at risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack, or other potentially life-threatening conditions. Aside from these severe risk factors, sleep apnea can also impact your night’s sleep, lead to trouble focusing during the day, and impact mental illness such as depression. 

3. Obesity puts you at high risk. 

Obesity is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea. It can not only lead to sleep apnea, but it can also worsen it. In reverse, obesity can also worsen due to sleep apnea. 

4. Snoring is a symptom, but not the only one.

Snoring is the most well-known symptom of sleep apnea but is not the only symptom. Snoring is common with sleep apnea because of the trouble breathing, but sleep apnea can occur without snoring or other obvious signs. 

5. It’s more common for men.

Statistically, more men suffer from sleep apnea than women. After they reach menopausal age, women are less likely to develop sleep apnea. Men are more likely to live a lifestyle that encourages sleep apnea. 

6. It often goes undiagnosed. 

Though sleep apnea is common, many people with the condition go undiagnosed. When airways get blocked in your sleep, sleep apnea occurs. However, because it happens during sleep, it can go unnoticed or undiagnosed for many years. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 80% of those with sleep apnea go undiagnosed. 

7. It can be treated.

Sleep apnea can be treated in many options. A lifestyle change can help, positive airway pressure therapy or surgery are also options. 

If you are noticing symptoms of sleep apnea in you or a loved one, take action before the symptoms worsen. The professionals at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah have years of experience in treating sleep apnea through surgery. Come see us today!


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