Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing, called apneas, can last for a few seconds to a few minutes and occur multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can significantly affect overall health and quality of life. Sleep apnea can have serious health consequences if left untreated. It has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. It can also lead to impaired cognitive function and an increased risk of accidents due to daytime sleepiness. Visit Danny Shiri DDS, for the best care tailored to your needs.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, usually due to the relaxation of throat muscles. The narrowed or blocked airway leads to decreased oxygen levels and increased carbon dioxide levels in the body. This triggers the brain to wake the individual from sleep to restore normal breathing briefly. People with OSA often experience loud snoring, fragmented sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
CSA is less common and occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to breathing muscles. In CSA, there is no physical blockage of the airway. Instead, the brain momentarily stops sending signals, causing pauses in breathing. Unlike OSA, CSA is not typically associated with loud snoring, but individuals may still experience disrupted sleep and daytime fatigue.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (Mixed Sleep Apnea)
This type of sleep apnea combines obstructive and central sleep apnea. It occurs when a person initially has OSA, but continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for OSA triggers or worsens central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
- Irritability and mood changes
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
During sleep, CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over the nose or both the nose and mouth. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air pressure, keeping the airway open.
Dental devices, such as mandibular advancement, can be custom-made to help reposition the jaw and tongue, keeping the airway open during sleep.
Making certain lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, sleeping on your side, and practicing good sleep hygiene, can help alleviate mild cases of sleep apnea.
Surgical procedures may sometimes be recommended to remove excess tissue or correct structural abnormalities in the throat or nasal passages.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea or are experiencing symptoms, visit Danny Shiri DDS at 6310 San Vicente Blvd Ste 295, Los Angeles, CA 90048, or call (323) 935-9102. Our dentist can evaluate your symptoms, conduct the necessary tests, and recommend appropriate treatment options to help manage your sleep apnea and improve your overall well-being.