February 29, 2024

Conquering Sleep Apnea and Embracing a Peaceful Sleep

Has your partner ever complained that you snore all night? Do you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night gasping for air? This is something you should not ignore! You may be suffering from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. It is a life-threatening medical condition that needs proper care and management. 

If you think you may be at risk for sleep apnea, get in touch with our dentist in Grand Haven, MI, so that you can get the necessary testing and treatment to improve your sleep and quality of life.

 

What is sleep apnea? Is it dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a medical condition characterized by disruption in normal breathing while you are asleep. It usually occurs due to airway obstruction due to lack of oxygen. This results in the activation of your body’s survival reflex, which is why you wake up frequently at night. This reflex keeps you alive but may interrupt your normal sleep cycle. 

Sleep apnea can be dangerous, putting you at an increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension 
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat

Types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive apnea: Occurs due to airway obstruction 
  • Central apnea: Occurs if your brain does not control your breathing correctly
  • Complex apnea: Occurs due to a combination of both

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea? 

You can expect any of the following symptoms if you suffer from sleep apnea:

  • Extreme fatigue on waking up
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring while asleep
  • Waking up frequently at night
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual breathing pattern
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats and heartburn
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Headaches early in the morning

How can sleep apnea be treated?

Based on the type of sleep apnea and its severity, there are several treatment options available. These include:

Non-surgical options: For mild to moderate cases 

  • Conservative treatment 
    • Weight loss
    • Changing sleep positions
    • Nasal sprays
    • Treating the underlying conditions such as heart failure
  • Medications 
    • Decreasing or stopping opioid pain medications 
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and adaptive ventilation
    • It uses a specialized device to increase the air pressure inside your airway.
  • Oral appliances or mandibular repositioning appliances 
    • Hold your tongue and jaw in a position to keep pressure off your windpipe.
  • Nerve stimulators
    • Help relax your tongue and jaw to prevent any unwanted pressure on your windpipe that may lead to airway obstruction. 

Surgical options: For severe cases with increased risk of complications

  • Nasal surgery
  • Tonsillectomy/ adenoidectomy
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Jaw surgery 

Sleep apnea disrupts your sleep due to lack of oxygen causing breathlessness. If not detected and treated on time, it can lead to several life-threatening complications. Seek timely medical care if you notice any sleep apnea-related symptoms.