Sleep is one of the essential things in life. From keeping us energized throughout the day to help us heal when we are sick, sleep is critical for our health and wellbeing. A good night’s rest is impaired when you suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing in their sleep.
This usually happens for at least 10 seconds and several times an hour. When your brain realizes it isn’t getting enough oxygen, it sends a signal to wake you up, often causing you to gasp and have quick breaths. Why do you stop breathing? Well, this type of sleep apnea is called obstructive, as it results in the collapse or relaxation of the throat.
Obstructive sleep apnea is most common. Central sleep apnea is the other type and it is caused by the brain’s failure to send signals to muscles that control breathing.
Obstructive sleep apnea is often caused by Obesity
Overweight individuals have narrower throats and this makes it easier for airway obstruction to occur. Alcohol – drinking causes muscle relaxation, which can cause the throat muscles to close, increase paused breathing and snoring. Smoking – the effects of smoking on the lungs and throat can worsen your chances of sleep apnea.
A deviated septum, enlarged tonsils or a receding chin can be traits that cause sleep apnea to occur. The causes of sleep apnea are broad, but many of them are preventable. Often people do not even know they are suffering from this condition.
There are many different sleep apnea symptoms, and sufferers may display multiple symptoms, here are a few examples:
Feeling extra tired and excessively sleepy during the day Suffering from headaches in the morning Issues with short-term memory Weight gain or gastric reflux Dry mouth and sore throat problems Slow metabolism and inability to lose weight. High blood pressure or diabetes Depression or anxiety Inability to sleep through the night Heaving snoring Choking or gasping that wakes you up Mood swings Many of these symptoms can lead to more issues, such as lack of energy for work and everyday activities, failure to stay on task and unhealthy eating habits.
There are tests and questionnaires that can be taken if you think you, or someone you know, might have sleep apnea. Often, symptoms of sleep apnea are also common in other conditions, but it is good to find out if you suffer from sleep apnea so that you can begin proper treatment. If not treated sleep apnea cannot only disrupt your life but also lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, hypertension, diabetes and other health problems.
For those who suffer from mild sleep apnea, changes in your lifestyle can help treat the condition. Losing weight, avoiding alcohol or other muscle relaxers, changing sleep habits and eating a well-balanced diet can all be home remedies.
In most cases those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea have these options for treatment to help reduce or get rid of the condition:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is the most common treatment. It is a mask that must be worn every night, it uses pressure to send air flowing through the nasal passages.
The effects of sleep apnea and snoring can be minimized with an FDA-approved dental device that is a custom fit mouthpiece, which prevents airway obstruction.
Sleep apnea surgery is the only permanent treatment, increasing the size of the airway, allowing for easier breathing during sleep. This article was contributed by Bra Reagan, freelance writer, on behalf of Parmer Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.