Ever experienced that you have woken up as you were snoring loudly?
If yes, then you might be experiencing sleep apnea without even knowing.
Snoring is quite common. It can happen even when someone is too tired.
What’s important is to know if one is suffering from sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea is a potentially grave issue when you wake up because you have stopped breathing momentarily.
Sleep Apnea is of 2 types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea : It is when one’s breathing stops due to some obstruction like the falling of soft palate at the back of the throat.
- Central Sleep Apnea : It is when there is a problem with the brain signalling the breathing muscles. There is no obstruction in the airway. This condition is usually associated with systemic conditions like heart failure, stroke, brain tumours.
Sleep apnea usually affects men but can affect anyone. It is more prevalent in
- Age over 40
- Someone who has deviated septum or other airway obstruction
- Someone who is overweight
- Anyone with large tonsils
Signs of sleep apnea are :
- Waking up startled in the middle of the night
- Restless sleep
- Feeling difficulty in breathing
- Feeling tired upon waking up.
- Loud snoring.
Sleep apnea can potentially cause many problems if left untreated like :
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
Sleep apnea can be treated and it is advisable to do so. It can be treated by :
- Change in sleeping position : Falling of soft palate can be prevented by simple sleeping on one’s side instead of back. Thus, preventing obstruction in the airway.
- Oral appliances : If the jaw is supported and brought ahead, it prevents sleep apnea. This can be achieved with some oral appliances. They are advised in mild to moderate cases.
- Surgery : In severe cases, it is advisable to go for surgery to avoid future complications. Surgery is recommended when other treatments have proved to be unsuccessful. The surgery is usually to relieve the upper airway of the obstruction present. A surgery as simple as correction of deviated septum can relieve one from sleep apnea.
If you are experiencing any signs of sleep apnea, don’t feel shy to consult your dentist or physician. The earlier the diagnosis, the easier the treatment.