In order to get the treatment you need, it’s important to understand a sleep apnea diagnosis and what it could mean for your health. At Melvin H. Pearson DDS, PC, we believe in the importance of patient education and how it can make all the difference when seeking the right treatment for sleep apnea.
Our Staten Island dental practice strongly believes that educating our patients not only helps us provide effective treatment but also allows for an earlier diagnosis that can make a significant and positive difference in the lives of our valued patients.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects breathing patterns and leads to symptoms such as choking, snoring, fatigue, and insomnia due to an obstructed airway. This common sleep disorder causes soft tissues to collapse into the airway which then prevents a person’s ability to breathe normally throughout the night.
When the airway is obstructed and the brain isn’t getting sufficient oxygen, it jolts the body awake in order to restore proper airflow. In fact, living with sleep apnea means that sufferers may be woken periodically, as many as 20-30 times per hour in order to restore airflow. This continual temporary wake-sleep cycle prevents sufferers from getting into a deep sleep, resulting in daily fatigue as well as the development of serious health problems.
Types of Sleep Apnea
It is unknown to many people that there are actually three types of sleep apnea which range between mild to severe. The most common and mildest form of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea occurs as a result of an obstructed airway. Airway blockage can occur for a variety of reasons such as enlarged soft tissue, a large neck, relaxed muscles, or even a relaxed tongue which then falls into the airway. This blockage limits the airflow to the lungs, resulting in sleep apnea symptoms.
In contrast to OSA, central sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles which help a person breathe. When that signal fails, individuals with central sleep apnea won’t try to breathe. This type of sleep apnea is therefore considered very serious as it affects the lower brainstem.
Lastly, the third type of sleep apnea is complex sleep apnea which is also known as treatment emergent central sleep apnea. This type is a combination of both OSA and central sleep apnea.