All About Health And Wellness Gazette

What is Sleep Apnea?

Jul 21

Sleep apnea is when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive when the throat muscles relax and block the airway. Sleep apnea can cause snoring, gasping, or choking sounds during sleep. It can also cause daytime fatigue, irritability, and memory problems.


Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, mouthpieces or masks that keep the airway open, and surgery.


There are also some things you can do at home to help ease sleep apnea symptoms, such as:


  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Sleep on your side or stomach, rather than on your back.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that make you sleepy.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Treat nasal congestion or allergies.
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom.


You can also try some natural remedies for sleep apnea, such as:


  • Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
  • Trying herbal teas such as chamomile or lavender.
  • Taking supplements such as magnesium or melatonin.


There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central:


  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs as repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep. During an apneic attack, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder as the pressure increases to open the airway. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with sound sleep, reduce oxygen flow to vital organs, and cause heart rhythm irregularities.


  • In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. Central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system.

Who gets sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs in about 25% of men and nearly 10% of women. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including babies and children and particularly people over the age of 50 and those who are overweight.


Certain physical traits and clinical features are common in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. These include excessive weight, oversized neck, and structural abnormalities reducing the diameter of the upper airway, such as nasal obstruction, a low-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils, or a small jaw with an overbite.


If you have sleep apnea, it's essential to get treatment. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.


What are the effects of sleep apnea?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in several health problems, including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart), heart failure, diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks.


Sleep apnea can likely cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. Sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.


With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure (essentially a coin flip as to whether the patient has it), experts recommend that you don't delay in seeking the advice of your physician.


Do you live with sleep apnea? Then, trust River District Smiles Dentistry to help you get a good night's sleep!


Obstructive sleep apnea, known simply as sleep apnea, is a common condition that can dramatically impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, many people have sleep apnea. If you're one of them, turn to your trusted River District Smiles Dentistry for comfortable, effective sleep apnea treatment.