If you are drowsy during the day with no explanation or snore loudly and wake up breathless in the middle of the night, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Visit a Village Orthodontics practice near you to learn about our sleep apnea services.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are affected by sleep apnea. At Village Orthodontics, we’ve helped many of our patients achieve a life of healthy, restful sleep.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20 to 30 times an hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing.
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea.
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):
The most common type of sleep apnea which occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA):
A less common type of sleep apnea in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don’t receive the proper signal from the brain
Mixed or Complex Sleep Apnea:
Some people suffer from a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea
Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, regardless of gender or age.
However, obstructive sleep apnea is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children.
Central sleep apnea is most often diagnosed in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.
Other risk factors of both OSA and CSA include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history.
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem. If left untreated, it can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart failure and stroke
- Ongoing state of fatigue
- Problems at work or school
- Dangers when driving or operating heavy machinery
Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioural: you may be instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on your side instead of on your back. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.