If you have obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat relax and subsequently narrow the airway as you breathe in.
This reduces the amount of oxygen you get. Your brain rouses you from sleep momentarily and you may gasp for air. Then you return to sleep usually not even realizing that you awakened.
Central sleep apnea is less common and is a result of your brain failing to give the signal for you to breathe. This may cause you to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. You may even awaken feeling short of breath.
So, What Causes Sleep Apnea?Sleep apnea is caused by a variety of conditions. People most at risk for obstructive sleep apnea are those who are overweight. People born with very thick necks can also develop the condition. If you have nasal congestion, were born with a narrowed airway, use alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or smoke, you are also at risk of developing the condition.
Central sleep apnea risk factors are different. If you are middle-aged or older you are at risk. If you have had a stroke or have congestive heart failure you may develop the condition. And if you take opioid medications, particularly if they are long-acting such as methadone, you are also at risk.
If you have any of the above conditions contact our office. He can run some tests and can refer you to a sleep specialist.
Once the sleep specialist has made a diagnosis, your dentist can help you with a treatment plan that could involve a device to keep your airways open at night.