Sleep apnea is a dysfunction that happens when breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing regularly during sleep. The condition persists more during the night.

There are three types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common among the three. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by blocking the upper airway either partly or entirely during sleep.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is usually caused when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Causing a blockage of the airway, Central sleep apnea usually affects patients whose central nervous system dysfunction—for instance, patients who have had a stroke or are suffering from neuromuscular diseases. Central sleep apnea is also common in patients experiencing heart failure and other types of pulmonary and cardiac diseases.

What Symptoms Are Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The first signs of obstructive sleep apnea are mostly recognized not by the patient but by the bed partner. Mostly those affected do not realize they have a problem. Among the most common symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

  • Frequently Snoring
  • Waking up with dry mouth and sore throats
  • Sudden awakenings with a sensation of choking and air gasping
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Intellectual impairment, such as irritability, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Sweating at night
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Severe headaches

However, symptoms in children may not be that obvious; you need to be keen to notice. They include:

  • Irregular sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the hands and knees or with the hyper-extended neck
  • Learning and behavioral disorders
  • Inward movement of the ribcage when inhaling
  • Bedwetting
  • Excessive sweating at night
  • mouth breathing during the day and swallowing difficulty

Who Gets Affected by Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

In most cases, obstructive sleep apnea occurs in a more significant percentage of men than women. It affects all people in all age groups.

What Are the Adverse Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

If not treated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can result in several health problems, including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, enlargement of the heart’s muscle tissue, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks. In addition, untreated sleep apnea may also be responsible for job impairment, work-related accidents, motor vehicle crashes, academic underachievement in children, and career failure in adolescents.

What If You Have Been Diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

If your doctor diagnoses you with OSA, you will be offered treatment options as soon as possible. Although the gold standard for treating OSA is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. For various reasons, it does not work for everyone. If the CPAP machine does not work for you, you can opt for oral appliance therapy, which resembles a mouth guard used by athletes.

Schedule an Appointment to Learn About Sleep Apnea

Your journey toward the successful management of obstructive sleep apnea and its symptoms should start today. Speak with your primary physician and request an overnight sleep evaluation. The trained specialists at Cochran Family Dental will work with your healthcare providers to effectively diagnose and treat any sleep disorder. We serve the cities of Leesburg, Ashburn, and Purcellville with modern and comprehensive dental care services. To learn more about the services we offer, call us today to schedule an appointment at 703-771-9034, or email us using the contact form on this page.

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    Cochran Family Dental

    Dr. Cochran

    At Cochran Family Dental we strive to offer the best quality treatment and service possible to the great people of Loudoun and the surrounding area.

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