Tag Archives: Sleep Apnea

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when breathing is affected while sleeping. When breathing stops and starts during sleep, it can be dangerous. There are a few different kinds of sleep apnea—the most common are obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind—this occurs when the muscles in the throat relax. This includes the uvula, the tonsils, and the side walls of the throat and tongue. When these muscles relax, airways narrow or sometimes close altogether, making it difficult to breathe. Your brain will usually wake you up to reopen your airways when this happens.

Central sleep apnea happens when your brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles needed for breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

There are a few signs of sleep apnea, but the most common is loud snoring. Because of the breathing difficulty that occurs, snorts, gasps, and loud snoring are common among those with sleep apnea. Other signs include not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep, having trouble focusing while awake, feeling excessive sleepiness during the day, and general irritability. Those with sleep apnea may also experience difficulty sleeping, waking up with a headache or a dry mouth in the morning. You may also have an episode of difficulty breathing during the night without waking up—this would have to be determined by another person who witnessed you sleeping.

How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are certain factors that will increase your risk of sleep apnea. Some of these factors are in your control, while others are not. Some unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and use of narcotic pain medication and opioid medications. Other things that increase your risk of sleep apnea include age—the older you are the higher your risk, gender—sleep apnea is much more common in men than women, nasal congestion, medical family history, and heart disorders. Your neck circumference also makes a difference—thicker necks tend to have narrower airways.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The most common treatment option for sleep apnea is wearing a CPAP mask during sleep. CPAP therapy can be effective, but if you don’t want to wear a mask at night, you may want to look into other options. Certain oral and dental appliances can help to open airways. There are also surgical options. Surgery in the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, adenoids, tongue, upper and lower jaw, can impact sleep apnea as it can help to reduce or eliminate any extra tissue that is blocking your airways.

Losing weight can also treat sleep apnea. Though if your sleep apnea is caused by narrow nasal passages or airways, this will not be effective.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. 


Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

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.

7 Facts About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that disrupted your breathing while you sleep. Depending on the type of sleep apnea and its severity, it can have lasting effects. This condition is more common than you may realize. Familiarizing yourself with it could help you or a loved one in the future.

1. Many people don’t realize that have it.

Sleep apnea can easily go undiagnosed. According to sleepapnea.org, about 22 million Americans have sleep apnea and 80% go undiagnosed. With about 24% of men suffering from the condition and 9% of women, it is more common than most realize. If you think you may have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, come into our offices and we’ll work through it with you.

2. It can lead to other serious complications.

When left untreated, sleep apnea can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. It can lead to other complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, a heart attack, a stroke, or other conditions. It can also increase your risk of developing depression. In fact, many people will not realize they have sleep apnea because they mistake it for depression when in reality the two can go hand in hand. Because sleep apnea can also mean loud snoring, it may be affecting your partner and their sleep as well.

3. It can be treated.

There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. Some simple lifestyle changes may be the answer. A CPAP—or continuous positive airflow pressure—mask can also help. These masks can help those with moderate to severe sleep apnea breathe a little easier through the night as it will keep airway passage open. Other options include mouthpieces and certain types of surgery for a more permanent solution.

4. Middle-aged men are the most affected.

Sleep apnea is much more common in men than in women. It is most common in middle-aged, overweight men. Women can also develop sleep apnea and are much more likely to do so after they have reached menopause.

5. Snoring is a symptom but not the only one.

Though it is often the easiest symptom to recognize, loud snoring is not the only sign of sleep apnea. Other signs include feeling excessively sleepy, falling asleep during the day, waking up in the night, choking or gasping sounds, dry mouth, mood swings, trouble focusing, and morning headaches. Not all snorers have sleep apnea.

6. Obesity is a risk factor.

Multiple medical conditions can trigger sleep apnea, including obesity. Though it’s not the case for everyone dealing with sleep apnea, a majority of people who suffer from it are overweight. Dropping some pounds can ease symptoms.

7. There are multiple types of sleep apnea.

Did you know that there are different types of sleep apnea? For example, there is obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, happens when the muscles in your throat are obstructed during sleep. The other main kind is central sleep apnea which occurs when your brain and muscles have a disconnect.