Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, many of whom go undiagnosed. It’s a serious condition, and there is hep at the Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry in Alexandria.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing stops and starts during the night. It is more common in men. Older, obese men and women are more at risk. It can be dangerous if untreated. It is not uncommon for someone with sleep apnea to snore or feel tired after a full night’s sleep.
There are three types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive sleep apnea describes a condition where your throat muscles relax.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea is a combination of the two previously listed.
How is sleep apnea treated?
There are a variety of treatments for sleep apnea. In some cases, lifestyle changes can help. These include losing weight and quitting smoking. One of the most common treatments is a CPAP device. A CPAP machine is a continuous positive airway pressure machine worn at night. The airway pressure opens up the air passages which allows the patient to breathe easier.
Another option is a dental appliance that repositions the jaw and tongue so the patient can breathe easier while sleeping. In some cases surgery is recommended.
Who is most at risk for sleep apnea?
- Overweight or obese
- Heavy smokers
- Heavy drinkers
- Individuals with a sedentary lifestyle
- People with an overbite
- People with an unusually a large neck
What are the possible long-term effects of sleep apnea?
- Daytime fatique
- Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
- Difficulty focusing
- Frequent headaches
- Increased risk of an auto accident
- Causing your bed partner to suffer health problems from poor sleep
If you or someone close to you is diagnosed with sleep apnea, the Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry in Alexandria can provide an oral appliance. We also offer complete family dentistry. Call us to schedule an appointment today!