Sleep apnea is serious disorder that can be detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional heath. It occurs when breathing stops and starts many times during the night, for 10 seconds or more. It ranges from mild to severe, with episodes occurring as often as 100 times in an hour. Here’s what you need to know about the types of sleep apnea, its symptoms, and your treatment options.
What Are the Types & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apneas can be obstructive, central, and complex. Obstructive is the most common, caused by a fully or partially blocked airway when the throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea originates in the brain when it’s not sending signals to your muscles to breathe. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both types.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, interrupted sleep, gasping, dry mouth, and headaches. Because people with sleep apnea struggle to get a full night’s sleep, they may also experience symptoms of sleep deprivation like irritability, fuzzy memory, and sleepiness during the day. Left untreated, patients may gain weight, and develop high blood pressure, or increase their risk of heart attack.
What Are My Treatment Options?
If you think you have sleep apnea, your doctor will refer you to a sleep specialist for overnight testing. If you are diagnosed, the doctor will probably recommend you begin using a CPAP machine, which delivers air to your lungs while you sleep. You may also try an oral device that keeps your throat open during the night.
For patients who do not find relief from an oral device or CPAP machine, surgery is an option. In the most common sleep apnea surgical procedure, the surgeon removes excess tissues from the back of the mouth and throat, as well as the tonsils and adenoids. A surgeon can also reposition the jaw to create more space behind the tongue.
Peter A. McIntyre, DDS, PC in Colorado Springs, CO, puts patient health, safety, and satisfaction first. If you have dental anxiety, Dr. McIntyre and his team will put you at ease and become your partner in restoring or maintaining your dental health. With a comprehensive array of dental care services, they can help with all your oral health needs. Call (719) 475-2511 or send a message online to schedule your next dental cleaning appointment.