What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the condition. It occurs when the tissues of the throat and palate relax during sleep. When this happens, the tissue can “sag”, which obstructs the airway and blocks the proper flow of air and oxygen to the lungs. This may occur hundreds of times per night, and last up to 10 seconds or longer during each instance, in some cases.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea has a number of symptoms that are easy to recognize. While heavy snoring is an indicator of apnea, snoring alone is not enough to diagnose the disease. Other symptoms include:
- Gaps in breathing, snorting, or gasping sounds during sleep
- Unexplained headaches
- A sore or dry mouth upon waking
- Insomnia, irritability, and daytime sleepiness
OSA and Your Overall Health
Sleep apnea prevents you from getting proper sleep, which can result in issues like irritability, daytime drowsiness, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. However, the real danger of sleep apnea is that it also increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related issues. This is because the heart does not get properly-oxygenated blood during episodes of sleep apnea. For this reason, you should never ignore apnea or brush it off as a simple snoring problem. If you suspect you or your sleeping partner have OSA, call our team for a diagnosis right away.
Nightguards and CPAP Machines
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines are the most common treatment for sleep apnea. These machines provide a continuous, gentle flow of air through a comfortable mask worn during sleep to prevent tissue relaxation and treat apnea. For minor cases of OSA, oral appliances (nightguards) are often recommended. These appliances are designed to move your jaw and throat into a more healthy position, preventing the collapse of oral tissues and helping your breathe properly throughout the night.