Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know About America’s Leading Sleep Disorder

Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know About America’s Leading Sleep Disorder

Posted by HEALTHY SMILES OF BIRMINGHAM on Jun 21 2021, 05:36 AM

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep. The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that over 22 million Americans suffer from this disorder. 

Read on to find out what sleep apnea is and what the treatment options are.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What Is It? 

There are at least three documented types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome (aka treatment-emergent central sleep apnea). Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most prevalent in the US. 

OSA occurs when the muscles supporting the soft tissue in the back of the throat relax. This causes a blockage in your airway and can prevent you from breathing properly during sleep. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, obstructive sleep apnea is recorded in 2% to 9% of adults and is predominant in males.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The most commonly occurring symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up abruptly mid-sleep, gasping for air
  • Difficulty focusing
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day

Are There Any Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?

There are several successful treatment options for sleep apnea in adults. 

  • If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you can first try to alleviate the symptoms by making a few lifestyle changes. These include weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise. 
  • Another option for the treatment of sleep apnea is the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. CPAP provides a constant supply of oxygen to the lungs through an oxygen tank and a breathing mask. 
  • Last but not least, many dentists including our own recommend the use of Mandibular Advancement Devices for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. These devices push the lower jaw or the tongue to a forward position to free up your airways and prevent a potential blockage. 
  • Other treatment options include surgery to remove part of the soft tissue that prevents breathing or medications to prevent daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea can steal the comfort of a good night’s sleep away from you. Fortunately, you can manage the condition with the right treatment. Contact Healthy Smiles of Birmingham to seek treatment or learn more about the condition by calling (205) 991-9535, scheduling an online appointment, or visiting us at 100 Heatherbrooke Park Dr Suite A, Birmingham, AL 35242.


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