Sleep Apnea and Snoring
We think it’s safe to say that everyone knows what snoring is. There probably isn’t a person that hasn’t heard someone snore in their lifetime. Probably the strangest thing about snoring is that the person who is doing it is usually completely unaware that they are. That is pretty amazing since some snoring is loud enough to wake the dead. When confronted, these people vehemently deny that they snore. Snoring could be, though isn’t always, the symptom of a more serious problem, which is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when your breathing is interrupted when you sleep. Some people with sleep apnea stop breathing for several seconds when they are sleeping. Snoring can force a breath in the person that isn’t breathing. Cunnington Dental may just be able to help you with either or both of these problems.
Is All Sleep Apnea the Same?
Sleep apnea does not always have the same cause, and in fact, there are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form. In this type of sleep apnea, your airflow is blocked while you usually sleep when the soft tissue at the back of your throat collapses and blocks the airway.
Central sleep apnea is the result of a problem with the way the brain signals the muscles that control your breathing. In this case, the airway is free, but the brain fails to signal the muscles that a breath should be taken.
What are the Causes and Who is at Risk?
Sleep apnea affects specific segments of the population who possess the risk factors associated with the condition. First, it is more prevalent in men than in women. It also is more likely to appear after the age of 40. If you have large tonsils, a large tongue or a small jaw, you run the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. This is because these two factors make it more likely that an obstruction can occur that will cut off the airway.
Sleep apnea can run in families, so if you have a close relative who has it, you may also get it as you age. Part of the reason for this is that structures like jaws and tongue size can be passed down as a family trait. Finally, if you have a nasal obstruction like a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems, they can create the atmosphere needed for an obstruction to occur. If you notice you are doing a lot of mouth breathing as opposed to breathing through your nose, you should make an appointment with Cunnington Dental, so we can evaluate the problem and get you fixed up.
It is important to get evaluated and treated if you think that you have sleep apnea. It doesn’t simply make it difficult to sleep. It can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, depression, and irregular heartbeats. Sleep apnea puts stress on your cardiovascular system and the reduced oxygen from not breathing causes further strain.