05 Jan How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?
Sleep is one of the most important parts of daily life. When we sleep, our bodies are hard at work rejuvenating. Deep sleep revitalizes organs and promotes cell turnover – all functions that must occur for the body to operate as efficiently as possible. Disorders that affect our rest can prevent our bodies from functioning properly – especially conditions like sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic sleep condition that prevents a person from breathing properly during rest. The only way to be certain that you have a sleep disorder is to have a sleep study performed. A sleep study involves wearing technology that monitors vitals and collects data to determine the duration and quality of one’s rest. Sleep studies can confirm a variety of suspected issues, particularly sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing for short amounts of time because of airway obstruction. Airway obstruction is caused by excessive tissue collapsing into airways, developmental abnormalities, or issues with the alignment of the jaws. When a person stops breathing during rest because of airway obstruction, the brain will send signals to wake the body slightly. This causes a person to rouse slightly so that proper breathing can be reinitiated. Episodes of breathing cessation followed by slight wakefulness can occur hundreds of times in a sleep cycle.
Can sleep apnea affect my health?
Yes, OSA can negatively affect your health in many ways. First, this condition causes sleep deprivation, which contributes to a host of health issues. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss, irritability, impaired motor function, and reduced immunity. In addition to sleep deprivation, patients with OSA have erratic respiratory rates and heart rates. Research suggests that erratic breathing and inconsistent heart rates can have effects on the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.
How is sleep apnea treated?
There are a few different ways to approach OSA treatment. Non-surgical options include wearing oral appliances or CPAP machines. Treatments such as removing excessive oral tissue and corrective jaw surgery may be necessary in some cases.
For more information or to reserve a sleep apnea treatment consultation, call our team at Great River Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.