Sleep apnea is a growing health concern because of its prevalence and its disruptive nature. We at Edison C. Louie DDS, Inc. are your partners not only with your dental health but also sleep health as well.
Sleep apnea is the interruption of breathing during sleep. Apnea originates from a Greek word that means “without breath.” The definition is a pretty straightforward description of what happens to patients with this condition. Its results are also quite self-explanatory. Disrupted breathing leads to a decreased oxygen supply to vital organs, especially the brain. Though the condition may seem simple to understand, the consequences of limited oxygen supply are dangerous as they severely affect the quality of life. Additionally, if left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to chronic diseases and can even be fatal.
The types of sleep apnea are obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blocked airway when the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, maintains an open airway. However, the problem is in the brain’s failure to signal the muscles responsible for breathing.
Are You At Risk?
Though sleep apnea can affect anyone, there are those who have increased risks. For example, fat around the neck can limit airflow. Thus excess weight increases the risk of sleep apnea. Alcohol intake or consumption of depressants relaxes the throat muscles causing obstruction. Smoking leads to inflammation of the upper airway, which constricts airflow.
Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, the risk equalizes after menopause. Also, the incidence of sleep apnea increases with age.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
Patients are usually unaware that they have sleep apnea. An estimated 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, yet the majority are left undiagnosed. How do you know when it’s time to visit us and test whether you have sleep apnea?
Snoring is one of the most popularly known symptoms of sleep apnea, though it is not definitive that a snoring person has the condition. It would be necessary for us to assess and perform some tests to confirm whether you are merely a simple snorer or you're suffering from sleep apnea. Other symptoms to watch out for during sleep are: choking or gasping for air and silent breathing pauses.
During the waking hours, the most common symptom of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea deprives patients of restful sleep. As a result, patients suffer from morning headaches, irritable mood, and inability to focus on tasks.
It Can Affect Your Life
Sleep apnea can cause long-term adverse health effects. The lack of oxygen leads to the development of high blood pressure and even other cardiac conditions, including heart attacks. Sleep apnea also puts you at risk for Type-2 Diabetes.
Health risks are not only chronic diseases, but daytime fatigue puts patients at risk for sleeping behind the wheel.
Even the slightest symptom of sleep apnea affects your life and should not be taken lightly. A short visit at Edison C. Louie DDS, Inc. can help you or contact us at (714) 922-3132.