How Sleep Apnea Wreaks Havoc On Your Health

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 1 in 5 people in the United States live with this disorder. 

Continue reading to learn more about the different types of sleep apnea.

The Three Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea presents itself in three distinct forms: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea. Although they share similar symptoms, the causes of these three types of sleep apnea are different. Treatment varies by type, so it’s essential to determine which type you have before trying at-home remedies and professional treatment. 

In today’s blog, we will discuss the three types of sleep apnea in-depth, and how they can wreak havoc on your health.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when something is obstructing your air passageway. Once your throat muscles relax, your tongue or other tissue falls back into your throat, which blocks your airflow; this limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your lungs. 

The three levels of OSA are: mild, moderate, and severe. 

  • A person with mild OSA experiences five to 14 breathing interruptions per hour 
  • A person with moderate OSA experiences 15 to 30 breathing interruptions per hour 
  • A person with severe OSA experiences over 30 breathing interruptions per hour

Symptoms of OSA include:

  • Snoring: Although snoring is normal, people with OSA snore loudly and frequently. 
  • Waking up: If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air, you may have OSA. 
  • Daytime fatigue: Sleepiness that lasts all day even though you had a full night’s rest can indicate a breathing problem. Every time you wake up due to obstructed breathing, your brain resets its sleep cycle. 
  • Morning headaches: Not receiving enough oxygen in your brain can result in a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. Morning headaches are a product of oxygen deprivation. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain is unable to send signals to other parts of your body. Because your brain can’t communicate with the muscles responsible for breathing, your body doesn’t try to breathe. 

Symptoms of CSA include:

  • Difficulty concentrating: This makes it difficult to complete tasks due to a lack of sleep.
  • Changes in mood: If you’re irritated continuously, you may have CSA.
  • Chronic fatigue: This symptom has a detrimental impact on a person’s ability to function throughout the day. 

Complex Sleep Apnea

Complex Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a combination of the other two types of sleep apnea. Left untreated, it can result in: 

  • Weakened immune system: Lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea can weaken your immune system because of a decrease in T-cells. 
  • Low oxygen in the blood: Low oxygen levels can cause problems with heart rhythms, fluid buildup, and frequent strokes. 
  • Memory loss: Because sleep helps us solidify our memories and process information, sleep apnea can wreak havoc in your mind. You may find it difficult to remember past events. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should consult with your dentist because you may grind your teeth during sleep without knowing. Over time, teeth grinding can result in the decline of your oral health, and you may need oral surgery. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help you with all your oral care needs. Schedule your free consultation today.