Sleep apnea is a common condition that causes sufferers to briefly stop breathing throughout the night. The most common symptom is snoring, though those who have sleep apnea tend to feel tired or fatigued throughout the day. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a sleep specialist through a sleep study.
Sleep apnea is usually caused by the muscles in the back of the throat relaxing too much, thus restricting airflow. This can cause snoring but can also cause a patient to stop breathing completely for seconds or even minutes.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep. The airway can become blocked or narrowed due to the muscles in the throat relaxing too much.
Central sleep apnea, or CSA, occurs when the brain fails to properly signal the breathing muscles to breathe. Central sleep apnea is typically caused by conditions like stroke or heart failure.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
You may be suffering from sleep apnea if you snore loudly during the night, wake up frequently, or feel tired during the day. The other symptoms of sleep apnea are as follows:
- Short episodes in which breathing pauses while asleep
- Difficulty to breath during sleep
- A dry mouth after you wake up
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive tiredness and sleepiness during daytime
- Difficulty in concentrating while awake
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea With Sleep study
A sleep study is an overnight test that records body functions while you are sleeping. It is performed in the sleep lab.
A sleep study is often used to diagnose sleep apnea. The test records your breathing and heart rate patterns. It also records your brain waves, eye movements, limb movements, body positions, and oxygen levels.
There are a number of treatment options for sleep apnea. The treatment that is chosen depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of sleep apnea can often be treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol, and sleeping on your side.
A dentist may prescribe a dental appliance for sleep apnea. These devices are designed to keep your throat open while you sleep. This keeps your airway open, preventing sleep apnea symptoms.
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. This is a device that provides a steady stream of air through a mask. This mask creates pressure that pushes against your airway. The pressure keeps the airway open while you sleep.
A dentist or oral surgeon may refer a patient to a sleep center for surgical corrections to improve sleep apnea. In many cases, the surgery involves the removal of soft tissue in the back of the mouth and/or tongue. This soft tissue can block the airway during sleep.
At Kusek Family & Implant Dentistry, we offer a full range of services, including cosmetic and implant dentistry in a relaxed dental environment. To learn more about our dental services or to schedule your consultation with one of our dentists, call us at 605-371-3443 or visit us at 4921 E. 26th St., Suite 1, Sioux Falls, SD 57110.