How Serious is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep condition with varying degrees of severity. Some people experience symptoms so mild, they may not even realize they have it. Others may be at risk for very serious consequences.
If you suspect you or a loved one has sleep apnea, speak openly with your health care providers about your concerns. Only their expert diagnosis can determine your risk level.
Types of Sleep Apnea and Treatment Options
There are two types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a neurological issue where the brain stops communicating with the muscles responsible for breathing. People typically require medication to treat this serious condition.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the result of an obstruction of the airways while breathing. This may be caused by a small throat, obesity, or large tonsils. Misalignment in the jaw and TMJ-D can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.
To treat sleep apnea, some patients wear CPAP machinery at night to regulate oxygen in airways. This is a nasal mask that pushes air into the nasal passages.
Other people prefer appliances that a dentist provides. Orthodontic appliances customized to your unique facial structure keep the jaw in proper position, so you can breathe properly and sleep soundly.
When Sleep Apnea Gets Serious
Sleep apnea compounds the effects of other conditions. It causes reduced oxygen levels in the blood, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and daytime drowsiness. Moodiness, depression, obesity, and diabetes are also more common among sleep apnea sufferers, as is high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, the risks associated with sleep apnea make it an increasingly dangerous condition to leave untreated.
A pause in the breath of 10 seconds or longer constitutes an apnea, and repeated apneas throughout the night are very damaging. For orthodontic sleep apnea appliances and more, visit Lansdale dentist Dr. David Kaffey. He provides detailed examinations and gentle chairside care for his patients at Leading Dental Solutions.