Sleep Apnea & Your Health

Dental treatments for snoring and sleep apnea

Take the following self test to see if you may be suffering from sleep problems:

  • Do you wake up with a headache?
  • Do you feel drowsy during the day?
  • Are you cranky or short tempered?
  • Do you have problems with concentration or memory?
  • Do you fall asleep at work or while driving the car?
  • Do you have heart problems or high blood pressure?
  • Are you overweight or gaining weight?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink alcohol in the evenings?
  • Do you have a hard time breathing through your nose?

If you answered yes to one or more of the previous questions you should keep reading and schedule an appointment for an initial screening.

Sleep Apnea can be broken down into 2 categories:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type that people suffer from. There is a blockage of the windpipe caused by a collapse of the muscles responsible for keeping the airway (trachea) open. In short the tissues in the back of your through collapse and/or the size of them are too large for the size of the mouth/throat area to allow proper air flow. Obstructive sleep apnea can affect anyone however the most common people who are afflicted with the condition are middle-aged overweight men. This has to do with size of muscles in the throat that limit the air opening. Studies have indicated that 90% of people afflicted with sleep apnea have this type.

  • Central sleep apnea occurs in those who have medical conditions, whereby the brain lacks proper communication with the muscles. This is when you repeatedly stop breathing during sleep. This occurs because the brain temporarily stops transmitting signals to the muscles that control breathing. Therefore an injury or a disease to this area can trigger this condition. Typically, central sleep apnea occurs in people who have certain medical conditions and is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea. When neurological controls for breathing rate malfunction they fail to give the signal to inhale, causing the individual to miss one or more cycles of breathing. If the delay in breathing is long enough, the percentage of oxygen in the circulation will drop to a lower than normal level (hypoxaemia) and the concentration of carbon dioxide will build to a higher than normal level (hypercapnia). The individual cycles between apnea and hyperapnea.

Conditions that can cause or lead to central sleep apnea include:

  • People with lower brain stem lesions
  • Bulbar poliomyelitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke affecting the brainstem
  • Complications of surgery of the cervical spine
  • Secondary radiation in the region of the cervical spine
  • Severe arthritic and degenerative changes in the cervical spine and/or base of skull
  • Severe obesity
  • Primary hypoventilation syndrome
  • Heart and kidney failure

Sleep Apnea patients are much more likely to be constantly fatigued during the day!

How common is OSA?

40% of adults over the age of 40 snore.

9% of men and 4% of women suffer from some form of OSA.

Less than 10% of OSA sufferers have been diagnosed.

Of those, less than 25% have been successfully treated.

The most common cause of OSA is blockage of the airway caused by:

  • Large tongues
  • Large tonsils and adenoids
  • Long uvulas
  • Relaxes throat muscles
  • Fatty tissues in the throat

Other possible causes of sleep problems are:

  • Obesity
  • Psychological
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Medications
  • Other medical problems
  • Chronic pain

One thing is certain: if you do not sleep properly and adequately your total health will suffer!

Snoring can be a main cause of sleep problems because it interrupts breathing numerous times during the night and does not allow the brain to enter the nervous system into a “healing” phase. Snoring is more than just a source of humor. It is a reflection of a significant medical problem. Snoring and sleep apnea can be associated with:

  • Increased risk of hypertension/ high blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Increased risk of strokes

Your snoring may also be waking your family members causing them to have interrupted sleep patterns.

Complications of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can also be a potentially life-threatening problem that affects over 33% of the adult population. So what’s the big deal with interrupting your sleep? Well, the human body needs CONTINUOUS sleep for at least 7-8 hours. It is during this continuous sleep that the brain and nervous system go through the “healing” stages. It is during these various stages that the nervous system helps to balance the body, by helping to heal the organs and the tissues. Without proper sleep, your body is like a car with no brakes and a constant accelerator. Eventually, it breaks down!

What can you do about this? There are multiple treatment alternatives which can be used! The very first step is to set up an appointment for a free screening. After a complete examination, we will discuss the best alternative to help you achieve the results you are looking for.

We will help you:

  • Assess any potential sleep related problems
  • Improve your health
  • Improve your mental alertness
  • Improve digestion
  • Find motivation
  • Improve your appearance
  • Feel better
  • Improve your work performance
  • Gain muscle and lose fat
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Reach your goals

Test yourself for sleep apnea, or contact us today to learn more about how sleep apnea can affect your overall health.

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