Your Guide to Understanding Sleep Apnea
Getting the best treatment for your case of sleep apnea starts with understanding the condition and learning how it can impact your overall health. Statistics show that ten percent of women and twenty percent of men have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, fifty percent of those that have been diagnosed with OSA are not being treated properly.
At our Glen Mills dental office, we believe that educating patients is an important factor in early diagnosis and effective treatment. Keep reading to learn about this overnight breathing condition then call Dr. McCoy to explore sleep apnea treatments in Glen Mills and Concord, PA
What Happens During Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes patients to stop breathing when sleeping. This occurs when the airway is completely or partially blocked, which then limits the amount of air reaching the lungs. Blockage can happen when the throat muscles and tongue relax, falling into the airway and causing it to narrow. This leads to the characteristically loud snoring and choking sounds when patients with sleep apnea try to breathe.
The brain and body become oxygen deprived when a person is experiencing an episode. As a result, the brain will try to kick-start breathing, forcing the patient awake to restart air flow. This results in a lack of sleep due to the number of times a person wakes up throughout the night. Depending on the severity of the sleep disorder, which varies from mild to severe, a person may wake up from 5 to 50 times an hour.
If you believe you may have sleep apnea, reach out to our office in Glen Mills, PA. Dr. McCoy and his skilled team are here to help you find the right treatment.
The Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The most common of the three is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the throat muscles relax, the tongue falls back into the throat and obstructs airflow. Also known as OSA.
In contrast, central sleep apnea is triggered when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that help you breathe. Individuals with central sleep apnea don’t struggle to breathe, they don’t try to breathe. This happens as a result of the brain not sending the right signals to the muscles that control breathing, causing pauses in air intake.
Central sleep apnea is not as common as obstructive sleep apnea but is considered a serious illness and sleep disorder due to the fact that the lower brainstem is affected. Recent studies have also suggested that central sleep apnea may be associated with other serious illnesses including congestive heart failure, kidney failure, hypothyroid disease, neurological diseases, and damage to the brainstem.
The third type of sleep apnea is complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.