What is Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

If you’ve been told that you may be suffering from sleep apnea you might be a little worried and wonder what exactly that means.

First, rest assured that you’re not alone. It’s been estimated that 3 out of 4 Americans live with sleep apnea symptoms and don’t even realize it.

What is sleep apnea? In short, it’s a very common, yet chronic condition that affects millions. Sleep apnea patients repeatedly stop breathing through the night at various intervals called an apnea, which means “no breath.” These pauses can last for 10 seconds or more and they happen regularly throughout the sleep cycle.

Some patients can experience anywhere between 5 to 30 obstructive sleep apnea episodes in one hour. When breathing is irregular like this, carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream which triggers the brain to wake the sleeping person so they can resume normal breathing.

Why does sleep apnea happen? Gravity and muscle relaxation allow the tongue and surrounding soft tissue to fall back into the throat area of the sleeping person. This then collapses the airway and obstructs the airflow.

The condition can be further complicated by excessive weight or loss of muscle tone due to aging. Also, if you sleep on your back or use alcohol, you may experience increased apnea events.

What if I don’t seek treatment? Not treating sleep apnea can have a significant effect on your health such as increased drug-resistant hypertension, obesity, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease to name a few.

If you’ve been told you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it’s best to seek treatment sooner rather than later since the condition can worsen and lead to other complications. Luxadent in Houston, TX offers treatment options to minimize snoring and help encourage proper breathing during sleep.

How do I get started? Getting started for sleep apnea treatment is as easy as talking to your dentist about your symptoms. If diagnosed with mild-moderate sleep apnea, your dentist will fit you with a device that can be comfortably worn in your mouth while you sleep to help keep your airway open.

If you’re in need of a good night’s sleep, we encourage you to book your appointment today!