20 Apr FAQs for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common health condition that often goes undetected and untreated. Since the condition affects someone when they are sleeping, they are often unable to notice its symptoms. Fortunately, more and more people are receiving treatment for this condition now that sleep apnea has been discussed in the media and researched more thoroughly. Following are answers to common questions about sleep apnea, its symptoms, and causes.
What is sleep apnea exactly?
Sleep apnea literally means that a person stops breathing during sleep. Apnea (the cessation of breathing) can occur for as long as a minute before the brain sends signals to wake the body so that proper breathing can be resumed. While the sleep apnea sufferer doesn’t totally wake up, he or she wakes enough to disrupt the progression through each stage of sleep – thus affecting one’s ability to achieve rejuvenating rest.
What causes sleep apnea?
Airway obstruction is often the cause of sleep apnea. This obstruction can be nasal or oral in origin. Many times, large soft oral tissues collapsing into airways cause sleep apnea. Other factors can contribute to sleep apnea as well including certain medications, drinking alcohol before bedtime, obesity, and smoking.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Symptoms of sleep apnea vary from person to person. Common symptoms include waking up in the morning with a headache or dry mouth along with feeling persistent fatigue even after what seems like a full night of sleep. Patients with untreated sleep apnea may also suffer with memory loss and depression.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Treating sleep apnea varies based on its underlying causes. In most instances, dentists and physicians may try to alleviate apnea with the use of CPAP machines or oral appliances, both of which are used to keep airways open. If these conservative forms of treatment do not provide relief, patients may be referred to an oral surgeon for corrective surgery.
To learn more about sleep apnea or to schedule a consultation with our caring and skilled team, call Great River Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at any of our convenient locations.