Sleep is the best remedy for the mind and body. It helps to restore balance in the entire system while it allows the mind to refresh and bounce back. Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleeping disorders that is potentially life-threatening. It is characterized by a series of episodes, when a tissue at the back of your throat collapses, blocking the airway, and causing you to stop breathing for a few seconds while you are asleep.
The types of sleep apnea
There are two major kinds of this disorder: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The most common disorder is the obstructive form that results in the blocked airflow. This obstructive form occurs due to issues like obesity, hyper or hypothyroidism, diabetes and other such health disorders.
The other rare form is central sleep apnea that occurs due to faulty signals from the brain to the breathing muscles. Here, although the tissue remains intact, the brain fails to send the signal for the muscles to perform their function well to breathe while asleep. This often occurs due to serious conditions like tumors, heart infarctions or stroke.
Patient demographics and diagnosis
Sleep apnea is fairly common among the population and can affect anyone at any age. This disorder is more prevalent among the men than the women. The most common symptoms include snoring, fatigue, daytime drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth in the morning, and frequently waking from sleep gasping for breath.
You are more likely to be diagnosed by your dentist due to the frequency of your visits. Your diagnosis and treatment will then be a result of a collaborated effort of a general physician, sleep specialist and a dentist trained in sleep disorders.
Treatment options and procedures
For mild cases of sleep apnea, you would simply be required to make a few lifestyle changes like give up smoking or alcohol, losing weight, etc. Other treatment options include oral appliances that improve breathing that are designed like a mouth guard. Sometimes you may even require an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct the situation surgically.