Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually due to the relaxation of muscles in the throat or tongue. When breathing pauses, the brain senses that oxygen levels are low and sends a signal to start breathing again. This causes frequent awakenings from sleep. Some of the symptoms of Sleep Apnea can be daytime drowsiness or breathlessness, but the most common symptom is loud snoring.
Sleep apnea can be caused by many factors, such as obesity, allergies, or nasal congestion. It can also be caused by some medical conditions such as asthma or congestive heart failure (CHF). To determine if you have sleep apnea, your doctor will need to know the symptoms you experience, and when they started, then they might conduct a sleep study if needed.
There is no specific cure for sleep apnea, but the treatment can dramatically improve your quality of life. It involves lifestyle changes, improves mental health, reduces anxiety, and can even help you perform better at work.
Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk for systemic and chronic ailments. This disorder has been associated with car accidents, underachievement in school, and even job loss. Other symptoms of untreated sleep apnea include hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. In other words, it can affect your overall health.
Stages Of Sleep
There are four stages of sleep, and in the first stage, the person will start to fall asleep. The second stage is where the person enters into a deep sleep, which is also called delta wave sleep. This is when most dreaming occurs and when people with apnea experience an oxygen shortage that can last up to 20 seconds at a time. The third stage of sleep, known as REM (rapid eye movement) is where people usually experience vivid dreams, and their eyes move quickly from side to side. Stage four of the sleeping cycle includes light sleep before waking up for another day.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep and block the airway.
Central sleep apnea: is caused by the brain's failure to signal the muscles to breathe.
Complex sleep apnea: This type combines features of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Having one type of sleep apnea does not mean a person cannot have another.
What Is Polysomnography?
Polysomnography is a test conducted to monitor the sleep patterns of an individual. It records the brain waves, eye movements, muscle activity, and heart rate. The patient will be monitored while they sleep to see if they stop breathing or have pauses in their breathing.
To diagnose sleep apnea, physicians use a sleep study device. These devices can be brought home, picked up at a sleep center, or installed in the sleep patient's bedroom by a trained therapist. These devices are supervised, so a medical professional will be on hand to monitor the quality of the results and ensure that the test is being done correctly. People with obstructive sleep apnea should only undergo this test if they have no other sleeping disorders or other serious health issues.
What Is CPAP?
Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP is a device that uses air pressure to keep the airways open while the person sleeps. It helps reduce snoring, and it may help people with sleep apnea get a better night’s rest. This is an effective way to treat the condition, but 60 to 70 percent of sufferers don't stick to it long enough because it can be uncomfortable and difficult to adjust to. CPAP treatments may not be appropriate for every patient.
Ultimately, the treatment for sleep apnea depends on the underlying cause of your problem. If you are concerned that you may have this disorder and are looking for a dentist in Laguna Niguel who can help you, contact Heather Ridge Dentistry. We use an alternative to the CPAP to ensure our patients sleep soundly and more comfortably. Our devices are FDA & Medicare-approved. Our treatment for sleep apnea will improve your quality of sleep and minimize your health risks. Contact us now!