Questions about Sleep Apnea
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition involving obstruction of the airway that causes nighttime breathing lapses. People with sleep apnea experience periods of halted breathing that last 10 seconds or longer, and some sufferers are plagued with frequent breathing interruptions (up to 400 or more a night). Apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, fatigue, depression, headaches, and other problems that have serious negative impacts on your quality of life.
What happens if sleep apnea goes untreated?
When your normal breathing pattern is interrupted, the oxygen level in your blood decreases, which can contribute to serious health issues like heart attack and stroke. Sleep apnea sufferers often develop high blood pressure, which can lead to serious cardiopulmonary conditions. Sleep apnea has also been linked to heart problems like heartbeat irregularities and heart disease.
Are there different types of sleep apnea?
Yes. The two forms of apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). In the obstructive form, throat tissue is responsible for obstructing the airway. In central sleep apnea, a much less common form, the brain fails to send messages to the breathing muscles, resulting in failure to inhale. Additionally, some patients are diagnosed with a type of sleep apnea that is a combination of both called mixed sleep apnea.
If I have been told I snore, does that mean I have sleep apnea?
Although snoring is not always representative of a sleep apnea case, it is a major symptom of airway obstruction. The narrowed airway that results in the snoring sound can indicate apnea may be disrupting your sleep, so it is best to see a neuromuscular dentist for a thorough evaluation. Our neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Stephen Sulzbach, is LVI-trained to recognize the bite misalignment and TMJ problems that can contribute to sleep apnea and is experienced in neuromuscular TMJ treatment.
How can sleep apnea cause motor vehicle accidents?
Sleep apnea is a major cause of daytime fatigue and is responsible for many motor vehicle crashes. When the body is not permitted to complete its restorative functions, it can literally shut down during the day. Apnea sufferers can become disoriented during the most inopportune times, like while driving. This is yet another reason why sleep apnea is a serious health risk and should be treated as soon as possible.
To talk to our Lansdale neuromuscular dentist during a personal sleep apnea consultation, please contact Towamencin Dentistry today. Our team looks forward to helping you get restful sleep with state-of-the-art sleep apnea treatment.
Stephen Sulzbach, DMD
1111 Forty Foot Road
PO Box 220
Kulpsville, PA 19443