What is sleep apnea and why should we treat it? Well, we might know we have sleep apnea; however, there are indicators which can tell us we might have it. When we sleep, we have little to no awareness of what is happening such as having short periods of where we stop breathing. Thinking about it’s scary to think about it but before you start to freak out, get more information on sleep apnea.
What’s Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition commonly found in the United States with an estimate of “more than 18 million American Adults [who] have sleep apnea.” It is a sleep disorder when we involuntarily stop breathing for a couple of seconds repeatedly. There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The most common, occurs when our airway closes due to the muscles of the back of the throat which causes us to stop breathing for a few seconds. Overall it is the blockage of our airway.
- Central Sleep Apnea: Occurs when our brain fails to control our breathing during sleep. It’s failing to signal our muscles to breathe causing disrupt breathing.
Regardless of the cause, they both disrupt our breathing during sleep repeatedly which is both a severe condition and creates a fatigueness.
What Causes It?
There are many causes and risk factors which can cause sleep apnea such as
- Having a large tongue, tonsils, or uvula
- Small jaw
- Being overweight
- Smoking or drinking
- Family history and genetics
- Man of a particular ethnicity (African-American or Hispanic)
Again, there can be a cause we haven’t listed and can be determined when undergoing a sleep study.
Like most illness or disorders, there are symptoms which give us the flag there might be something wrong. When it comes to having sleep apnea, common symptoms we might experience are sleep deprivation, difficulty concentrating, learning and memory difficulties, or falling asleep anywhere (which is dangerous when driving).
What to Do
If you notice symptoms getting worse or have no explanation into why you are feeling these symptoms, you might want to consult with your dentist or doctor. Even though a dentist might not have the knowledge or experience of medically diagnosing, they can eliminate whether it is a dental or oral problem. The best bet you can do is visit both your dentist and doctor to help eliminate possible causes and to get a sleep study done to determine whether it is a disorder you have. After all, your health is important to be checking and ensuring it’s at its best. You don’t want to suffer from the seriousness of the prolonging treatment which can turn to high blood pressure, stroke, memory problems, or cardiovascular disease.
If you feel you may be experiencing some of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to rule out the possibility it is sleep apnea or if it is to get treatment. Consult with your dentist today by filling out our appointment form today or calling us at 801-747-8000.
“Sleep Apnea.” National Sleep Foundation
“Sleep Apnea.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute