Sleep Apnea: An Inside Look into What It Is and the Natural Sleep Solutions

Sleep Apnea: An Inside Look into What It Is and the Natural Sleep Solutions

Feb 01, 2021

Do you wake up each day with a sore throat? Or do you experience unexplained fatigue even though you know you slept all night? Then, if this describes you, you should visit our Highlands Ranch dentist to get sleep apnea treatment.

Poor sleep is no fun. Our bodies are designed to rest at least six hours each day for you to function as you should. However, people who have sleep apnea don’t have this privilege. What’s worse is that you may never notice that you are suffering from sleep apnea.

Statistics reveal that about 9 percent of the American population is suffering from sleep apnea. Some experts believe that many more cases go undiagnosed since the condition isn’t easily noticeable by the patients.This condition is known to affect more men than women, particularly men above 40 years old.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Loud snoring is often confused with being sleep apnea. However, loud snoring is not an indication that you have sleep apnea.  Surprisingly,you can snore and not have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially severe condition where the patient experiences interrupted breathing during sleep.

People with sleep apnea may experience repeated breathing pauses that last up to 20 seconds. These pauses may occur from five to 100 times each hour. This means that your whole body, including your brain, will not receive enough oxygen.

Sleep apnea is also further divided into three categories:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea.You will experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) when the back of the throat is physically blocked. This, in turn, causes temporary pauses in breathing throughout the night.
  • Central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea (CSA) typically occurs when you have a problem with your brain’s system for controlling the respiratory muscles, which causes you to have shallower and slower breathing.
  • Mixed sleep apnea. This occurs when you have both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

As you know by now, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airways are blocked. Several factors are known to increase the chances of the back of the throat to block, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Anatomical characteristics such as poor positioning of the neck or jaw
  • Use of alcohol or other sedatives
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Family history
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Hormone abnormalities

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The three types of sleep apnea can have common symptoms such as:

  • Morning headaches
  • Disrupted breathing that may even stop for close to a minute
  • Irritability
  • Excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Lack of concentration

Besides the above symptoms, OSA has the following symptoms:

  • Morning sore throat
  • Snoring
  • Nocturia (waking up frequently to urinate)

However, these symptoms are a bit challenging to spot since they happen when you are asleep. A bedmate or a family member is best suited to recognize the signs.

How Is It Treated?

There are excellent sleep solutions that can be used to treat the different levels of sleep apnea. If our Highlands Ranch dentist finds out that you have mild sleep apnea, you may receive the following recommendation:

Lifestyle Changes

  • Losing excess weight can help reduce the size of the neck,which may be causing obstruction to your airways
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Exercising regularly can help ease OSA symptoms
  • Avoiding certain medications such as sleeping pills or tranquilizers,and alcohol, which are known to cause your throat muscles to relax, thus interfering with your breathing
  • Trying to sleep with your abdomen or side rather than your back

Therapies

If the above does not work, then our dentist may recommend the following therapies:

  • Positive Airway Pressure Devices

These machines come with different types of masks that are used to treat moderate and severe sleep apnea. The whole idea behind the positive airway pressure devices is to supply pressurized air into your throat continually. The air pressure will prevent your throat or airway from collapsing.

One of the standard positive airway pressure devices is continuous positive airway pressure CPAP.

  • Oral Appliances

Oral appliances are also useful in treating sleep apnea. There are over 100 different types of devices that can be used. These appliances are worn just like mouth guards or orthodontic appliances.

They are designed to prevent the muscles in the upper airway and tongue from blocking the airway.

If you are considering coming in for treatment, contact our dentist at Station Dental Group.

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