Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), also simply known as sleep apnea, is a condition where the soft tissues of the throat become loosened or lax. This makes them descend into the airway when the person is asleep. When these tissues drop down into the airway they block a person’s airflow and can cause the person to have trouble breathing. These disruptions in breathing can last briefly, only a few seconds, or they can go on for longer periods of time. Disruptions can also take place several times a night and interfere with a person’s sleep cycle. Symptoms can be nonexistent or very mild however for many individuals they are bad enough to cause snoring, snorting, and even choking when asleep.
Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. However, this does not always guarantee that a person has sleep apnea. Snoring can be related to clogged sinus passageways, allergies, and colds. Additionally, not every person with OSA will exhibit snoring. If a person experiences persistent snoring problems in addition to other symptoms of sleep apnea such as daytime drowsiness, problems concentrating, moodiness, forgetfulness, and falling asleep during the day, it is much more likely that the person has sleep apnea. If this is the case, the person should contact Dr. Hambarchian to be tested for the condition. This will be especially true if the individual wakes up choking or gasping.
Sleep apnea is linked to several health risks which can include:
The disruptions can also increase the risk of a person being a part of a fatigued car accident.
When symptoms are less serious, a night guard can be used to shift the lower jaw forward, thus keeping the airway free of the blockage. These mouthguards are tailor-made for each patient and will be comfortable to wear when asleep. When symptoms are more severe, laser therapy, surgery, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can be very beneficial. These assist the patient to sleep without disruptions in breathing.
*Information on this site is educational in nature and not intended to be a substitute for consultation by a dentist or professional dental care.
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