Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

Sleep Apnea

Types of Sleep Apnea

The two types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type. It is usually caused when soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks your airway.

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain does not signal the muscles to breath.  This may be caused by issues with the respiratory control center of you brain.

Am I at Risk?

Sleep apnea affects people of all ages. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Being overweight
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
  • Having a large tongue, large tonsils or small jaw bone
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Being male
  • Having gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Having nasal blockage due to allergies, deviated septum or sinus problems

What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

The following are signs of sleep apnea:

  • Snoring Loudly
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Shortness of breath when you wake up
  • Choking or snorting sounds during sleep (this indicates a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches when you wake up
  • Accidentally falling asleep during the day 
  • Experiencing severe tiredness during the day

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition. It leads to high blood pressure and increases the risk for heart failure and stroke when left untreated.  Chronic fatigue from sleep apnea causes problems focusing at school or work. Sleep apnea creates dangerous situations when you are driving or operating heavy machinery.  Sleep apnea has also been known to cause problems with medications or surgery. 

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Treatment of sleep apnea depends on the severity of your case and the cause. Sleep apnea can be treated by lifestyle choices such as losing weight, stopping smoking, or sleeping on your side rather than your back. If these fail to work, oral devices can position your mouth in order to prevent throat blockage. If sleep apnea is severe, surgery may be the best option.

More information on the sleep apnea oral devices provided by Associates of Dental Arts