Snoring man and young woman. Couple sleeping in bed.
We all know how essential a good night’s sleep is. Sleep repairs and re-energizes us. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stress and chronic pain make getting a good night’s sleep a challenge for almost 35% of Americans.
Furthermore, 24% of men and 9% of women suffer from sleep apnea with many more cases remaining undiagnosed and untreated due to a lack of public awareness. If you have sleep apnea, read on to learn how to finally ‘catch’ those much-needed zzzz’s.
Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing occurring when a person is asleep. The Greek word ‘apnea’ actually means ‘without breath.’ Sleep apnea is a very dangerous condition. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing hundreds of times a night and sometimes up to one full minute.
The Three Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive – This most common form of sleep apnea is usually caused by a blockage of the airway.
- Central – The brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, but airways are not blocked.
- Mixed – Is a combination of obstructive and central. The airway is blocked and the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
Regardless of the cause of each type, untreated sleep apnea is a serious condition causing people to stop breathing in their sleep. If left undiagnosed and untreated by a qualified physician, it can cause serious medical consequences.
Stages of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- As the person falls asleep, the body’s muscle tone relaxes.
- The airway narrows, causing breathing to be difficult or impossible, loud snoring, and labored breathing.
- As oxygen levels fall, the sleeper struggles for breath, sometimes up to one full minute.
- The heart rate falls as oxygenated blood struggles to pump through the body.
- The brain releases adrenaline in an attempt to wake the mind and body when it senses low oxygen and high carbon monoxide levels.
- The sleeper takes breaths of oxygen and blows out excess carbon dioxide.
- The rush of adrenaline causes the heart rate to speed up and pump over its regular rate.
- Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels return to normal levels,l allowing sleep to resume. However, as the sleeper falls asleep, the cycle repeats itself.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Nocturia (waking up at night to go to the bathroom)
- Increased cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Poor concentration
- Decreased sex drive
- Dry, sore throat upon waking
If you or your partner suspects you may have sleep apnea, it is advised that you undergo a sleep study test. You can have this test done in a hospital where you will be hooked up to equipment which will monitor your breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and your heart, brain, and lung activity. Alternatively, a simplified version of this test may be given to you by your doctor to be done at home.
Dr. Gary Kodish is experienced in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We would love to help you sleep again. Call us today at 954-462-5252 to get the best night sleep of your life! Financing options are available.
Dr. Gary Kodish welcomes you to Kodish Dental Group. Here is Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Gary Kodish and his team believe in providing patients with the best treatment available. We support a ‘full care’ dentistry environment, meaning that we will recommend the services needed to bring your smile to a state of optimal health, as well as provide you with a personalized prevention plan to address further concerns. This level of dental care is the dental care we would give members of our own family!
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