Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain, and the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen.
The most common cause of sleep apnea is because of a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. This is called obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. The other less common cause is when the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center. This is referred to as central sleep apnea, or CSA.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being male
- Being overweight
- Being over age 40
- Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
- Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
- Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
- Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.
Treating Sleep Apnea at Glendale Dental Wellness Center
To determine if you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Sue will screen you for signs and symptoms using a survey questionnaire. If there are indications, a sleep apnea test is recommended to confirm the actual diagnosis. If your diagnosis of sleep apnea is confirmed, Glendale Dental Wellness Center offers a full service sleep program with ongoing follow up. Depending upon your diagnosis and needs, we offer oral appliance therapy services, or we can refer for C-PAP therapy, or surgical considerations.
Here at Glendale Dental Wellness Center, Dr. Sue and our team want the best for your overall health and wellness, from providing the proper care and treatment to thorough follow up, as long as you ae being treated for sleep apnea.