Sleep Apnea: What are the different types?
Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing while an individual sleeps. These apneas can occur due to a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea)
Causes: Why do people experience sleep apnea?
When you drift into a deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue relax. For those with sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
Your brain will need to work hard to stay conscious while you are sleeping in order to ensure that you continue to breath. These episodes may happen hundreds of times a night, seriously disrupting your sleep.
Symptoms: What are the common signs of sleep apnea?
There are a number of different symptoms that you can experience with sleep apnea including heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms.
Loud snoring can be a serious issue on its own and while those with sleep apnea may snore, not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore. You should always refer to the expertise of a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.
Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better night’s rest with a number of treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.
Treatment: How can dental appliances help?
Your dentist may recommend dental appliances that can help change the deposition of your jaw and move your tongue and soft tissue back into place opening up your airway. Some perks of these dental appliances are:
- Easy to care for
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to insert and remove
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
- Convenient for travel
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, you will be unable to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that recharges your brain and body. Unfortunately, this can affect your overall health and quality of life.
Complications can include a wide range of conditions from metabolic syndrome and high blood sugar, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
You may also experience heart problems, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin. Because of your daytime fatigue, you may be at an increased risk of workplace or motor vehicle accidents.
Managing th symptoms of sleep apnea is the one way that you can help improve the condition allowing you to feel healthier and well-rested.