21 Dec What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep condition that affects a person’s ability to breathe properly during sleep. This condition ranges in severity and can be caused by oral and nasal obstructions. Some lifestyle factors can exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea, too. Fortunately, there is a variety of different methods for treating sleep apnea. Some patients benefit from the use of oral appliances, CPAP therapy, or surgical treatment from an oral surgeon. Following are some answers to commonly asked questions about obstructive sleep apnea.
What happens during periods of OSA?
If a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, they will literally stop breathing for short amounts of time throughout their sleep cycle. Breathing cessation can last up to a minute. The brain will then send signals to wake the body so that a sleeper resumes proper breathing. The cycle of not breathing and slight wakefulness can happen hundreds of times in an eight-hour period. Breathing cessation followed by wakefulness will prevent a patient from progressing through each stage of sleep naturally. Sleep apnea greatly disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and prevents a person from achieving true, rejuvenating rest.
What causes sleep apnea?
Nasal and oral tissues blocking airways cause OSA. For instance, bulky soft oral tissues at the back of the mouth can collapse over the airway. The positioning of the jaws may also cause apnea. If the lower jaw is out of alignment with the upper jaw, patients may be more likely to suffer with airway blockage during sleep. Lifestyle factors contribute to sleep apnea as well. Patients who smoke, drink alcohol before bed, and are overweight are more likely to struggle with sleep apnea.
Does sleep apnea affect more than one’s ability to rest?
Studies have shown that sleep apnea can complicate heart health and psychological wellbeing. Patients with untreated OSA have a higher risk for heart disease, depression, and stroke. Depression and other mood disturbances are common among sleep apnea sufferers.
When conservative treatment is not adequate, your dentist may refer you to our oral surgeons for treatment. After a thorough examination, our team will look for the root cause of OSA and develop a custom treatment plan.
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