Sleep Apnea



Sleep apnea is a condition that needs to be addressed because it can be life threatening. Sleep apnea is when there are pauses during sleep in which you are not breathing, pauses are usually at least 10 seconds in duration. In those who suffer from this condition there are multiple episodes in which the person frequently stops and starts breathing through-out the sleeping period. 

The three main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea the throat muscle relaxes which causes the airway to constrict itself, making it more difficult to breathe and receive the adequate oxygenation needed. Despite the persons efforts to breathe, the body is not cooperating and continues to block the airway. Central Sleep apnea is when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles that regulate breathing. Complex sleep apnea is when there is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea present. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the three. The main signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air, inability to concentrate, irritability and extreme fatigue. The person with sleep apnea reports fatigue because the person to awaken many times throughout the night in order to end an episode of apnea. However, the person may not be completely conscious that they are awake so they may not be aware that this is happening. The person may also suffer from insomnia and have higher levels of stress.

In order to determine whether the person has sleep apnea and the level of severity, the person participates in a sleep study. With those results, the person can move forward with a treatment plan suited for their needs. A common solution for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine which is worn while sleeping and utilizes a mask for effective delivery. The machine provides a stressed of pressurized air into the respiratory tract to ensure that the person is receiving enough oxygen. 

If the sleep apnea condition is rather mild or moderate in nature, then another solution maybe the use of dental appliances. These dental appliances are similar in concept to that of a mouthguard or a retainer. The design functions to prevent the tongue and surrounding soft tissues from collapsing. This facilitates the airway to stay open and patent during sleep. The appliances used for mild to moderate sleep apnea are comfortable, removable, portable, and easy to wear to ensure relief and help keep you safe. 


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