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Sleep Apnea and What You Need to Know

Sleep Apnea and What You Need to Know

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea. An apnea occurs when an interruption in your normal breathing pattern occurs as you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea are the two types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat collapse onto the airway, preventing the person from breathing. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to properly control breathing patterns as you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common.

If you believe you have sleep apnea, it is important to have it diagnosed and treated. Snoring is often the most common symptom used to identify obstructive sleep apnea, but central sleep apnea is not necessarily indicated by snoring. Many times a sleeping partner is the one to discover the symptom of snoring. More serious symptoms also occur with sleep apnea as a result of the sleep deprivation that takes place. Depression, sexual dysfunction, irritability, memory and concentration issues, and falling asleep during the day are all common symptoms. Falling asleep during the day is especially dangerous if it happens while the person is driving. If left untreated, sleep apnea symptoms can include high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, or stroke.

Treatments often include lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking. Oral appliances can also be used to prevent the soft oral tissues from falling back over the airway as you sleep. A continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP, is also used. This device circulates air through your airway as you sleep, keeping it open and preventing apneas. A mask must be worn over the nose or mouth to use a CPAP.

Contact our sleep apnea dentist in West Hollywood if you would like to set up a consultation.


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