Defining Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition characterized by the involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can be attributed to a number of contributing factors and when left untreated, it can result in a number of serious consequences.
There are Three Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is what most people refer to when describing sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, which happens when the tongue collapses against the back of the soft palate during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a more difficult problem to treat. It occurs when the signals from the brain to the lungs are disrupted, signifying a neurological issue. CSA sufferers breathe shallowly throughout the night or periodically stop breathing entirely during sleep.
Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea
Complex/mixed sleep apnea is characterized by a combination of the other two conditions. With each episode, the brain partially awakens the sufferer to force breathing to resume.
Untreated Sleep Apnea Dangers
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a litany of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Persistent headaches
- Heart attacks, failure, and palpitations
- Premature death
Don’t Wait to Treat Sleep Apnea
If you feel tired throughout the day, constantly wake up at night, and/or snore, don’t ignore it. You may be suffering from sleep apnea without even knowing it. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mensah and the Integrative Family Dentistry team today.