A guide to sleep apnea: 

Types, causes, risk factors, symptoms, effects, and treatment alternatives

A potentially life-threatening disorder, sleep apnea is characterized by interruptions in breathing when at rest – dozens of times each night for some individuals. When this occurs, a person’s restorative sleep is fractured, and they are deprived of oxygen. This form of disordered breathing further increases the risk of developing conditions ranging from persistent fatigue to heart disease and stroke. 

Fortunately, sleep apnea can be resolved by craniofacial sleep medicine certified provider, Dr. Jeff Danner of VIA Health Group, in Canton, Ohio

What is the cause of sleep apnea? 

There are multiple causes. The roots of this sleep disorder vary depending on the type. You may be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea, or central sleep apnea. 

OSA often arises when the tongue falls back in the throat. Or, it may relax too much and block the airway. The flow of air into the body may also be obstructed due to weak throat muscles, large tonsils, or a small lower jaw or airway. 

Central sleep apnea typically occurs when the brain’s signals that tell the respiratory muscles to “breathe’ either do not get sent or are ignored.  

Lastly, adults who are being treated for OSA may develop complex (or mixed) sleep apnea. These individuals’ central sleep apnea emerges following treatment for OSA. 

Risk factors 

The following characteristics put individuals at increased risk of developing sleep apnea:

  • Obesity
  • Being born male 
  • Older age 
  • Use of drugs or alcohol 
  • Smoking 
  • Comorbidities

Symptoms

Be sure to tell us if you experience any of the following problems, which can be indicative of sleep apnea:

  • Very loud snoring 
  • Gasping and choking while sleeping (partners may complain about this)
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Severe daytime fatigue 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Sore throat 
  • Irritability 
  • Mood changes or 
  • Low libido
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs) 
  • Hypertension 
  • Poor blood sugar control 
  • High cholesterol

Some of the above conditions are also complications of sleep apnea. Patients who are diagnosed with such sleep-disordered breathing must get prompt treatment to avoid these and other potentially dangerous consequences. In addition to the above, those with sleep apnea are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, and liver problems.

Contact VIA Health Group right away 

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea following a thorough evaluation, we can discuss treatment options such as the Vivos® method, a well-tolerated, non-invasive alternative to CPAP therapy that uses precision oral appliances to help you breathe and sleep better. To schedule your consultation, call our office in Canton, OH, today at (330) 915-3390

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