The Health Dangers of Sleep Apnea

By markplatt on May 31, 2015

A couple in bed, and he's a major snorerThe team here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates has helped patients in and around the greater Montgomery area achieve better dental health and total wellness. This includes treating serious issues with the teeth and gums as well as more advanced wellness issues such as sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that affects your overall health.

Let's go over the basics of sleep apnea below and then cover the various dangers of the condition of which people should be aware.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea refers to a kind of sleep disorder in which people experience frequent interruptions in their regular breathing patterns while they are asleep. Each interruption in breathing can last between a few seconds to a few minutes, and they can happen several times each hour.

The Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are three kinds of sleep apnea, which are classified by their cause:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – The most common form of sleep apnea, OSA occurs when there are physical blockages of the breathing passageways

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – The rarest form of sleep apnea, CSA occurs when the feedback mechanisms of the brain function improperly, affecting a person's breathing patterns.

  • Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea is a mix of OSA and CSA.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

The most common risk factors of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Gender (men more likely to suffer from sleep apnea)
  • Obesity and being overweight
  • Being 40 years old or older
  • Large/wide neck measurement
  • Large tonsils or tongue
  • Issues with mandible size
  • Issues with sinuses

Why Sleep Apnea Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Sleep apnea has been linked to a number of serious health conditions

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Persistent headaches

Each of these conditions can lead to serious issues with overall health and wellness.

Problems Functioning Through the Day

Frequent sleep interruptions can also make people fatigued or mentally foggy. Issues with memory, decision-making skills, and other cognitive functions may be impaired; and people may experience delayed reactions, clumsiness, or drowsiness throughout the day that affect physical actions.

These issues can increase the risk of serious accidents during your commute, and are especially serious to consider if you work in a hazardous occupation with heavy machinery or industrial equipment.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

The ideal treatment option for sleep apnea will depend on the cause or causes of your sleep apnea. Minimally invasive therapies can be used to help address a number of issues. Some of these treatments include CPAP machines, special mouthpieces that open up air flow during sleep, and outpatient surgery for the soft palate. More invasive surgeries and therapies will be considered for serious cases of sleep apnea that do not respond to less invasive therapies.

During the consultation process, we will determine what kind of sleep apnea you suffer from and how best to address your particular issues with the sleep disorder.

Learn More About Treating Sleep Apnea

For more information about sleep apnea and how our team can help you achieve better health and total wellness, be sure to contact our oral surgery center today. We at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates will work closely with you to help you sleep better and experience much better health in the process.

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