Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States, affecting children and adults, particularly overweight people are those over the age of 50. It’s a sleeping disorder characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and heart disease.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Several factors can cause sleep apnea, including:
- Thickened tissues and additional fat stores around the airway (obesity contributes to the anatomical narrowing of the airway)
- Lax muscles and other tissues in the mouth and throat
- Nasal congestion
- An underlying neurological problem
- Anatomical characteristics such as the size and positioning of a person’s neck, jaw, tongue, tonsils, and other tissue near the back of the throat can directly affect airflow.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive: This is the most common type of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when your airways repeatedly become completely or partially blocked during sleep, usually because the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk.
- Central: With central sleep apnea, the airways aren’t blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, leading to slower and shallower breathing. Central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system.
- Complex: Also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea happens when you have both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Loud Snoring
- Lapsed breathing during sleep
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Headache after waking up
Does Sleep Apnea Go Away?
For the most part, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that does not go away on its own. The good news is that there are effective treatment options available that can dramatically reduce your symptoms.
Sleep Apnea Treatment at Senan Orthodontic Studios
At Senan Orthodontic Studios, we provide custom mouthguards for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea patients. The mouthguard is worn while you sleep and fits like an orthodontic retainer, but instead of simply covering your teeth, a custom mouthguard for sleep apnea works by pushing your lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping your airway open while you sleep.
Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea in McAllen, TX
Wearing an oral appliance consistently at night can significantly improve the quality of your sleep and reduce the health risks linked to sleep apnea. If you think you have sleep apnea or have any of the symptoms listed above, please contact us to schedule a consultation.