You have likely heard of sleep apnea and it is a serious sleeping disorder that is quite common in patients. This disorder occurs when your regular pattern of breathing is interrupted throughout your sleep cycle. One of the common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, but it is important to understand that not all patients who snore have sleep apnea and not all patients with sleep apnea snore.
There are two distinct types of sleep apnea and it is important to know the difference.
The first type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is the more common form of the sleep disorder and it occurs when the patient experiences blocked airflow as they sleep at night. It happens when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses. Obesity is one of the known factors that cause this condition.
The second type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea. This occurs when there is a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles in the patient. In this type of sleep apnea, the airway does not become blocked, but instead, the brain fails to tell the muscles to actually breath. When this occurs, the patient may experience other conditions such as a stroke, heart failure, brain infection, or brain tumors.
There is no specific age group that sleep apnea affects and it can happen to anyone; however, men are more likely to develop the disorder. There are some risk factors that are well-known, and they include:
- Obesity or being overweight
- Over the age of 40
- Patients who have large tonsils, a small jaw, or a large tongue
- Patients who have nasal obstructions due to sinus issues, deviated septum, or allergies
- A family history of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea that is not treated in a timely manner can lead to many different health problems that can affect the patients’ lifestyle and social life. Some of the problems that may arise include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, heart attack, or irregular heartbeat
- Worsening of ADHD
Sleep apnea is able to be treated and there are several treatment options that a patient may receive. Below, we will discuss some of those treatments.
CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure. This is a type of device that improves your breathing while you are asleep. This type of device helps to supply air through your nose and the air pressure keeps the airway completely open while you are asleep at night.
Surgery. According to the AADSM or the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, upper airway surgery may be recommended for patients when there are other treatment options that are unsuccessful when it comes to eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea. Depending on the location of the airway obstruction, this procedure may be minimally invasive, or it may be quite complex. It is a possibility that the tonsils or other soft tissue from the throat may need to be removed.
Adjusting your sleep habits. You may need to make some adjustments to your sleep habits to help improve your sleep apnea. Dr. Kang will discuss this with you when you come in for an appointment.
Oral Appliances. There are certain oral devices that can help to support and shift the jaw to prevent the airways from becoming blocked or collapsing. Research has shown that oral appliances are quite successful in helping mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you think you may have sleep apnea or you have been diagnosed with the condition, call Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center at your convenience. We do offer treatment options here in our Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA offices. Book your appointment now.
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Bay Area Oral Surgeon, Dr. Brandon Kang, manages a wide variety of problems relating to the mouth, teeth, and facial regions. For more information about the oral and maxillofacial surgery services we provide, or to schedule a consultation,
contact us at 510-227-8099
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