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What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is usually a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. When the body becomes relaxed during sleep the airway can become blocked due to over crowding in the back of the throat, this can be caused by enlarged tonsils and tongue, low palate, fat deposits around tissue or other factors that restrict the airway. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. This occurs because when your body detects that there is not enough oxygen in your blood your brain releases chemicals, like adrenaline, that signal an autonomic response. This results in a ‘jolt’ that temporarily opens the airway for oxygen to reach your lungs. This is generally experienced as a choking or gasping sensation.
As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, and the necessary function of rest for your body is disrupted. Over time this can seriously affect your overall health and can even lead to life threatening illness.
At Advanced Dental Concepts in Vancouver WA, Dr. Jack Jorgensen uses specialized equipment called an acoustic pharyngometer and rhinometer to evaluate a patient’s airway. This allows us to determine a patient’s airway stability during waking hours as well as simulate the collapse of the airway during sleep.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing
• Lack of energy
• Morning headaches
• Large neck size
• Nighttime gasping, choking or coughing
• Frequent nocturnal urination
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Gastro esophageal reflux
• Irregular breathing during sleep (e.g. snoring)
What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
• High blood pressure
• Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
• Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.
If you or a loved one feels like you might be suffering from OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), or any other sleep related breathing disorder, please contact our office for a complimentary consultation.
We’re dedicated to helping you achieve a better nights sleep, and improve your overall health.