Buffalo-area Dentist Dr. Larry Evola wants patients to know that sleep apnea can be a very serious condition marked by interruptions in your breathing while sleeping. Many people suffering from sleep apnea experience hundreds of pauses in their breathing over the course of a night. If left untreated, this condition can lead to many other health problems.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by an obstruction of your airway due to a collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of your throat.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send the necessary signals to your muscles responsible for breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a relaxing of the throat muscles, which causes your airway to become narrow or in some cases entirely closed while you breathe. As a result, your breathing briefly stops, lowering the oxygen content of your blood. In order to begin breathing again, your brain brings you out of sleep for a brief moment. This disrupts your sleep cycles, and you most likely do not reach the deep levels of sleep necessary to provide you with a good night’s rest.
Central sleep apnea is caused by your brain’s failure to send out signals to your muscles that control breathing. This generally occurs as a result of heart disease or stroke. As with OSA, people suffering from central sleep apnea frequently struggle with daytime sleepiness and snoring issues. People with central sleep apnea are often more likely to remember waking up during the night than those with OSA.
In Complex sleep apnea, your airway gets blocked just like in OSA. However, you will also experience problems with breathing caused by a failure to transmit the proper signals to your breathing muscles.
While sleep apnea can affect anyone, there are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood that you will develop the disorder.
The risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Neck circumference greater than 17.5 inches
- High blood pressure
- A narrow airway
- Gender – men are more likely than women to develop OSA
- Age – adults over 65 are at greatest risk
- Family history
- Use of alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers
The risk factors for central sleep apnea are:
- Gender – men are more likely than women to develop central sleep apnea
- Heart disease
- Brain tumor
If you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Evola can help alleviate your symptoms so that you don’t put yourself at greater risk of health problems in the future. Please contact Buffalo dentist, Dr. Evola at Forestream Dental today to schedule a consultation. Our practice treats patients in the Lancaster, Orchard Park, Amherst, and Buffalo, New York areas.