There are instances when you experience disturbed sleep during the night, followed by snoring. You may wake up several times in the middle of the night or tired in the morning. If this goes on for many nights negatively impacting your quality of sleep, then it is time you visit a healthcare professional. You may be suffering from a medical condition known as sleep apnea.
Specialists at the Alpine Dental Center can help you identify the root cause of sleep apnea, and help provide the necessary treatment to enhance the quality of your sleep and overall well-being.
A comprehensive guide to sleep apnea
The word “apnea” means breathless, and sleep apnea is a clinical condition characterized by disturbed sleep during the night due to cessation of normal breathing. Sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that results in the lack of oxygen which in turn activates a survival reflex in your body that wakes you up from sleep. This can help you resume breathing, but can greatly interrupt your normal sleep cycle. Over a while, untreated sleep apnea can have other debilitating consequences like increased strain on your heart.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
The etiological factors for sleep apnea
Depending on the type, sleep apnea can be caused by the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Airway obstruction due to relaxation of the muscles of the head and neck while you are asleep.
- Central sleep apnea
- Heart failure
- Hypoxia (low blood oxygen levels)
- Nervous system damage
- Complex sleep apnea
- Due to a combination of any of the causes of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Clinical manifestation of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can be characterized by any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Waking up frequently at night
- Fatigue on waking up
- Daytime sleepiness
- Headaches, especially when waking up
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Unusual breathing pattern
- Night sweats and heartburn
- Sexual dysfunction
Treating sleep apnea
Based on the type, and severity of the symptoms, possible treatment options include:
Non-surgical approach: For mild cases
- Conservative treatment
- Weight loss
- Changing sleep positions
- Nasal sprays
- Positive airway pressure (PAP) and adaptive ventilation
- Oral appliances
- Nerve stimulators
Surgical approach: For severe cases
- Nasal surgery
- tonsillectomy/ adenoidectomy
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
- Jaw surgery
Sleep apnea is a widespread condition that disrupts your breathing while asleep. If left untreated, over some time, it can lead to serious complications like high BP, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and behavioral disorders. Thus early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.