There are around 30 million people living with sleep apnea in the US. Sleep apnea can be a symptom of other chronic conditions and makes your sleep uncomfortable and unproductive. Sleep apnea can affect more than just your sleep and is one of the principal causes of chronic snoring.
Our friendly professional team at Expressions in Dentistry in Folsom, California, have treated patients with sleep apnea for years. Treating your sleep apnea is important to protecting your sleep, your health, and your daily life. Although sleep apnea has varying degrees of severity across different types, it’s important to understand what’s happening when you live with sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes intermittent cessation of breathing while you sleep. This can happen several times per night as you may be trying to get a restful night’s sleep, and symptoms can affect you when you’re awake. If you wake up tired after a full night’s rest, and typically snore when you sleep, you may be living with sleep apnea. There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea
As the name would imply, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the back of the throat is blocked, usually by inflamed or relaxed tissues in the back of the mouth. There are several reasons that the soft tissues of the palate, or the area in the back of your mouth, may block your airways, including the circumference of your neck.
Central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain doesn’t send the proper signal to keep your breathing muscles working while you sleep. This can make it difficult to fall asleep or cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
Mixed sleep apnea
It is possible to be affected by both OSA and CSA, and this constitutes mixed sleep apnea, or complex sleep apnea.
CSA is less common than OSA, and mixed sleep apnea is less common than central sleep apnea.
How did I get sleep apnea?
There are several risk factors for sleep apnea. It’s more likely to develop in men than it is in women, though women can be more prone to sleep apnea after menopause. The older you are, the more at risk you are of experiencing sleep apnea. Other risk factors include:
- Family history
- Sleeping on your back
- Excess weight
- Excess alcohol use, or sedative use
- Genetic expression, including the size and positioning of the soft tissues of the mouth
Left untreated, sleep apnea puts you at risk of certain chronic conditions. This is because when you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood plummet, your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes rises, along with your risk of stroke, depression, and high blood pressure.
How do you treat sleep apnea?
Frightening as these symptoms can be, your provider at Expressions in Dentistry can help you. Our office offers traditional devices that can help your soft tissue structures remain firm and contracted during the night, helping you to breathe easily. We also offer top-of-the-line laser treatments.
The VIVOS System is a removable device that you wear for up to two years, while the technology gently and slowly increases the size of your upper jaw, reshaping your airways, and making it easier to sleep. This treatment is particularly beneficial to children who are experiencing sleep apnea, as it easily accommodates growing bodies.
If you or your bed partner have been awakened by snoring, we’d like to see you for a check-up. Contact Expressions in Dentistry today at 916-252-9186, or book an appointment with us online.