What Is Sleep Apnea?
You’ve probably heard of sleep apnea—maybe you even know somebody who has it. But what exactly is sleep apnea, and what are its symptoms? Read on to find out more.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing is cut off for short periods of time while you sleep. There are three different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: your airway becomes blocked during sleep, stopping airflow
- Central sleep apnea: the brain doesn’t send the correct signals to your body to breath
- Complex sleep apnea: a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common symptom of sleep apnea, and the one you’re probably already aware of, is loud snoring. Other symptoms include waking up gasping for air, morning headaches, irritability, daytime sleepiness, and insomnia. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, there’s a chance you have sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to your risk of serious health problems down the line, such as heart attack and diabetes.
How do I find out if I have it?
If you and your doctor think you might have sleep apnea, you can join a sleep study, in which a doctor will monitor you in a lab while you sleep. They will look for snoring and slow or stopped breathing, and check your oxygen levels to see if they drop too low.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Mild cases of sleep apnea can often be successfully treated with lifestyle changes. If this is not enough, you might need to get a dental professional to make you a custom oral appliance, which can reposition your jaw to open your airway, or use a CPAP (“continuous positive air pressure”) device, which is a small portable ventilator that will regulate your breathing during sleep.
If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea or have any of the symptoms listed above, contact our friendly team today to learn more about your options!