Sleep apnea is characterized by the abrupt stopping and starting of breathing during sleep. It can be potentially life-threatening without treatment, which is why you should seek medical attention immediately if you notice any relevant symptoms.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can fall under one of several types:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the more common type, where the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing the airway to narrow and obstructing breathing.
- Central sleep apnea: Central sleep apnea is caused when the brain is unable to send proper signals to the muscles that are responsible for breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea treatment: This is the name given to the condition when a patient has both types of sleep apnea. It is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you could have sleep apnea. However, it is difficult to tell which kind you have without medical advice. The common symptoms are:
- Gasping for air during sleep
- A pause in breathing during sleep, which can be reported by your spouse or a family member
- Dry mouth and/or a headache upon waking up
- Daytime fatigue
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Although the exact cause of sleep apnea is not clear, there are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person having sleep apnea. They are:
- Age: Older people are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with sleep apnea.
- Sex: Men have a higher incidence of being diagnosed with central sleep apnea than women.
- Medication use: Consuming narcotics, or opioid medication, increases the risk of sleep apnea.
- Co-existing conditions: If you have had congestive heart failure or a stroke, you are at greater risk of sleep apnea.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, the good news is that it is manageable with a variety of treatment options:
- Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment: The most common treatment option for sleep apnea, CPAP treatment consists of a mask worn overnight, which is connected to an oxygen source. However, some patients find the device to be cumbersome or that it gets in the way of sleeping; therefore, patient compliance with nightly use of a CPAP device can be low..
- CPAP alternatives: Oral appliances designed using the latest technology can be fitted to suit patients’ needs. These techniques and procedures are recognized by the American Dental Association and American Medical Association. Many patients find that oral appliances are much easier to wear than a CPAP device; therefore, compliance is higher and sleep apnea is properly treated.
Why Choose Head Pain Institute® for Sleep Apnea Treatment?
If you require treatment for sleep apnea, look no further than the Head Pain Institute®. We have a team of sleep disorder specialists with more than eight decades of combined experience behind us and are proud members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Utilizing the latest treatment techniques and equipment, we have successfully performed more than 12,000 procedures since our inception, giving our patients a chance at an existence free from sleep troubles.