While many people have heard of Sleep Apnea, many people don’t realize the potentially dangerous effect it can have on one’s life. Likewise, Sleep Apnea goes undiagnosed in millions of people each year and is difficult to track in a doctor’s office since the conditions cannot be reproduced while awake. Nevertheless, there are some important facts you can know about this ailment.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Essentially, Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that interferes with one’s regular breathing patterns during sleep. In some cases this can lead to morning headaches, not feeling refreshed in the morning, and, in severe cases, death. When professionals diagnose Sleep Apnea, they place it into one of the following categories:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) — Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of Sleep Apnea. OSA occurs due to the relaxation of throat muscles that leads to a collapse of throat tissues, causing constriction and sometimes even complete blockage of an air passageway. Often times this leads to loud, easily noticeable snoring by a significant other at night. Being overweight can be a potential risk factor for the development of OSA.
Central Sleep Apnea — Far rarer, central sleep apnea is equally dangerous. In cases of Central Sleep Apnea the brain actually fails to send out the necessary signals to the body to regularly breathe throughout the night, often causing brief periods of little to no oxygen flow. Because no breathing is occurring, Central Sleep Apnea can be much more difficult to detect. In general, Central Sleep Apnea is more prone to develop in patients with particular mental illnesses or patients who are taking a medication of which irregular breathing is a side effect.
Mixed — Simply put, Mixed Sleep Apnea is a patient who suffers from both forms of sleep apnea. These cases exist, but are quite rare.
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, you may require treatment. Some solutions can be as simple as sleeping with your body at an angle to prevent collapse of air passages. Others include use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which is successful in most cases. In the potential case conservative treatment options are not successful, surgical treatment is available to alleviate Sleep Apnea problems.
If you think you might be suffering from Sleep Apnea and would like to speak to learn more about the disorder and Sleep Apnea treatment options, read more on our website or blog, and contact Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today.