Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where patients have something blocking (or obstructing) part or all of their upper airway in their sleep, forcing the diaphragm and chest muscles to work harder to pull air into the lungs. This condition may cause the patient's breathing to become very shallow or even briefly stop altogether. Eventually, when the patient begins to breathe again, it will be accompanied by a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk.
Many patients are not aware that they have this condition and may think they are only suffering from inadequate sleep. Dentists may be able to recognize and treat the signs of sleep apnea, as these symptoms often take a toll on the mouth and jaw.
It's a type of sleep disorder where the patient is unable to fall or stay asleep.
It's a group of sleep disorders that cause a patient to feel excessively sleepy.
They consist of having undesirable experiences while falling asleep, sleeping, or waking up.
Sleep apnea itself is a sleep-related breathing disorder where there is difficulty breathing during sleep.
These disorders happen when the sleep times are out of alignment.
They happen when movement during or before sleep interferes with sleep.
Yes, you can still travel safely with sleep apnea. For best results, you should take your CPAP machine and other dental appliances with you—particularly on any trips that will take longer than one or two days.
There is a direct correlation between sleep apnea and other health issues, like high blood pressure. Constantly waking up in the middle of the night puts stress on your body, causing the hormone systems to work overtime and increase blood pressure. The low oxygen and stress associated with sleep apnea are also related to heart disease.
No. Snoring is very common. However, snoring that wakes you up in the middle of the night can be a sign of sleep apnea. Snoring associated with sleep apnea also tends to be deeper, louder, and more consistent. It may also be interrupted with gasps, choking, or pauses. Patients should see a doctor if they experience a combination of any of these symptoms.
The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that over 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Furthermore, they estimate that as much as 80 percent of moderate and severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea are undiagnosed.
Unfortunately, no. However, there are many different ways you can minimize and manage the symptoms of sleep apnea.