Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious Sleep Disorder or Respiratory Disorder, where breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep, thus affecting and disturbing your sleep and ultimately your health. It can affect adults as well as children.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the more common form that happens when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep, causing the airway to close, as you breathe. It is a complete collapse of the airway. Sensing that your body is deprived of air and the impending suffocation due to your inability to breathe, the brain briefly wakes you (although you may not be aware of it), either by gasping for air, choking or snoring, thus causing you to move frequently so you can reposition yourself for better airflow and reopening your airway.
The continuous deprivation of a peaceful and restful sleep puts the body under stress, stimulating the body’s sympathetic nervous system, leaving you more prone to anxiety, depression, cold hands & feet, dizziness, sluggishness, irritable bowels syndrome, heart disease, sudden cardiac death, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, gastric reflux, memory loss, erectile dysfunction, to name a few.
People with larger necks, tongues or tonsils and adenoids may be more likely to experience a blocked airway.
There is a connection between high BMI levels in overweight people and OSA. Men are two to three times more likely to have OSA than women. However, women increase their risk if they’re overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.
Also, women are more likely to suffer from young fit female syndrome, also known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). It is a level of sleep-disordered breathing that can have many effects on one’s overall health.
With UARS, once the airway narrows and there is resistance to airflow, the body will arouse, causing the person to move or to be restless while sleeping and change their position for better airflow.
Children also can suffer from Sleep Breathing Disorder. Children experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea may not show signs of sleepiness but rather become hyperactive and inattentive. If your child experiences teeth grinding or clenching, snoring, gasping for air or choking, bedwetting, mouth breathing, night terrors or sleepwalking, it can be a sign of Paediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If your child snores regularly, there is a high risk that your child suffers from sleep apnea.
When your child’s breathing is disrupted, their brain works harder to take in oxygen than it does on other functions, like bladder control. If you are unsure of the cause of your child’s bedwetting, please contact us.
The consequences of leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to impaired growth and continued poor behavior. It can trigger learning problems, poor academic performance, growth and cognitive delays and even obesity.
People with upper airway and craniofacial abnormalities such as short mandibles, enlarged tonsils or abnormally sized upper jawbones (reduced) are among those who might suffer from OSA or UARS. Consumption of alcohol or drugs relaxes the throat muscles, thus leading to the narrowing of the airway while sleeping. Difficulty breathing through your nose could also lead to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA is a serious medical condition that does not affect only you. Due to lack of proper sleep, people who suffer from OSA also suffer from fatigue and sluggishness, resulting in a lack of concentration and dozing off during the day.
The loud snoring and tossing and turning all night long can awaken other family members, leading to their lack of sleep. While many people believe that sleep is not important, lack of sleep has serious health risks. Left untreated, this sleep breathing disorder brings an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and dementia.
You may be suffering from OSA or UARS if you experience insomnia, extreme daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or mood swings and morning headaches. Morning headaches resulting from OSA or UARS typically affect the forehead and/or the temples.
At GDNC, our Sleep Breathing Disorder Expert treats patients with a customized jaw advancement device not a CPAP.
If it is truly ‘just snoring’, you can! But neither you or the doctor can be certain the snoring is not a symptom of sleep apnea without Treating a patient for snoring when it is really sleep apnea can have life threatening results.
Untreated Sleep Apnea can cause:
A night guard is typically made to protect teeth that are being worn down due to unconscious behavior during sleep. Often that behavior is due to a breathing problem the patient is not aware of – it makes them unconsciously move the jaw around all night to get a better airway. A sleep appliance is specifically designed to maintain an open airway helping you get a better night sleep and feel more rested in the morning.
Yes, oral appliance therapy is one of the recommended treatment options for patients with a diagnosis of mild to moderate sleep apnea. The oral appliance is worn in the mouth to keep the airway / throat open during sleep by controlling the position of the tongue and lower jaw. For severe cases, oral appliances can also be used with CPAP to make it more tolerable to wear.
Snoring is an indicator of a possible sleep apnea condition. Sleep apnea has no boundaries for age or size. In fact, there is a 70% overlap between snoring and apnea in children. Please have your child check by a dentist trained in Sleep Apnea.
It is imperative that you have a sleep study prior to being fitted with any sort of treatment for snoring.
Even if you think you just snore, it is possible that you have some level of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). At our clinic we will first need to schedule a sleep study to properly and legally diagnose your condition as Snoring or Sleep Apnea.
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