What is Sleep Apnea?
If you feel like you never get a good night's rest and snore loudly, you may suffer from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes a person to stop breathing for periods of time while sleeping. This serious disorder needs medical attention to prevent it from affecting your overall health. At Laser Dental Bakersfield, we have family dentistry services that can help you understand the issues that sleep apnea can cause.
What is Sleep Apnea?
A person may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea. Most commonly, we see patients with obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airflow stops while you sleep. It is usually the result of excessive throat tissue that folds when you sleep.
Central sleep apnea, which is less common, is an issue with the brain. There is not an airway blockage with central sleep apnea. Instead, the brain stops telling the appropriate muscles to breathe. It is most common with medical issues, such as stroke and heart failure.
Who is at Risk?
Sleep apnea dos not discriminate against anyone, but the people most likely to have it are middle-aged patients that are overweight. Other patients that commonly suffer from this disorder are those with a family history of the disease, patients with large tonsils, patients with small jaws, and patients with any type of ENT disease, such as a deviated septum or sinus issues.
What are the Risks of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can be destructive to a person's health. Without proper sleep and proper functioning of the body, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, depression, difficulty focusing, diabetes, and heart conditions including stroke and heart failure.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
There are several non-invasive ways to treat sleep apnea, many of which you can even do at home. If your partner complains of your chronic and loud snoring, try changing sleeping positions. If you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side or stomach to stop the problem.
If switching sleep positions does not help, the next step is to try a CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure device. You wear this device while you sleep. Its job is to pump air through your nasal passages so that you do not stop breathing. We also provide certain patients with obstructive sleep apnea with an oral device that helps shift the jaw so that it does not collapse while you sleep. For a less invasive option, we also offer mouthguards.
The final option and typically, the last resort is surgery. If the CPAP or oral device does not stop the obstruction while you sleep, surgical removal of the tissue may be necessary for proper sleeping. It could be as simple as removing your tonsils or more complex, such as removing the soft palate or part of the throat.
If you have questions or concerns about your sleep apnea risks, call Laser Dental Bakersfield at (661) 241-9144 today. Our supportive staff will help you determine if you suffer from sleep apnea and what the best method of treatment to help you get a good night's rest.