Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a person actually stops breathing for short periods up to 20-30 times per night. If you or a loved one snores loudly at night, or wakes with a start and gasps for breath, sleep apnea is likely the cause.
There are three main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airway narrows or closes when you breathe in. The narrowed airway does not allow enough air to enter the body, and therefore not enough oxygen for the brain. Your brain rouses you from sleep when it senses a drop in oxygen, often so briefly that you may not remember being woken. This may happen often throughout the night and these interruptions of sleep add up to an disturbed night’s sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
With central sleep apnea (CSA), the person’s brain fails to give signals to the respiratory muscles to breathe. In comparison, with CSA there is a lapse in the drive to breathe, whereas with OSA the person tries to breathe normally but the airway is blocked making it impossible for short periods of time.
Complex Sleep Apnea
Complex sleep apnea, also known as mixed sleep apnea, is where a person has both OSA and CSA. The treatment for complex sleep apnea is more complicated and still being developed.
Sleep apnea is a risk to your health and it is best to get evaluated and treated as soon as you discover symptoms, such as:
- Loud snoring at night
- Breaks in breathing followed by gasping or choking sounds
- Restless sleep
- Headaches, especially in the morning after a full night’s sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or drowsiness
- Depression or irritability
Our dental appliance works for most people to treat obstructive sleep apnea, without needing a bulky and uncomfortable C-PAP machine. Contact our office today for more information about how we can help you!