Sleep Apnea Education
Sleep Apnea Education
Introduction To Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the muscles and tissues surrounding the throat relax, causing the airway to collapse and reduce or block airflow to the lungs. This blockage cuts off the oxygen supply to the body and the brain. The airway obstruction persists until the brain partially awakens the person.
This repeating cycle of falling asleep, muscles relaxing, airway collapsing, and unconsciously awakening with a gasp is the reason there is never a restful night of sleep. The lack of oxygen puts extra strain and stress on the entire body, especially the heart.
Systemic Diseases Linked To Sleep Apnea
- CPAP ( Continuous Positive Air Pressure)
- Oral Appliances
How Oral Appliances Work
- Reposition the jaw, tongue and soft palate
- Stabilize the lower jaw and tongue
- Increase the muscle tone of the tongue
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
- Comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing an oral appliance
- Oral appliances are small and convenient, making them easy to carry when traveling.
- Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.
Sleep Apnea and Men
Many people can suffer from sleep apnea and never know. This is because most of the symptoms cannot be observed from the individual suffering from it, but by a loved one who witnesses the individual exhibiting the symptoms in their sleep. The symptoms are also commonly associated with other conditions. Sleep apnea can go untreated for years and lead to other serious diseases, which is why it is so important to be aware of symptoms that may indicate the condition. It is also essential to know that the condition can appear differently between men and women. For starters, sleep apnea is more prevalent in men than in women. Although both genders experience the most common symptom, chronic snoring, men are more likely to report symptoms of snorting and gasping for air during sleep, while women report symptoms such as insomnia or depression. Sometimes snoring can be overlooked as a symptom of a more serious condition and many times men will neglect to get tested for sleep disorders because it’s “normal”. If your loved one keeps you up all night with their snoring, encourage them to see a doctor, especially if they are exhibiting other symptoms. Other symptoms include abrupt awakenings, dry mouth or a sore throat upon waking up, headaches and difficulty staying asleep.
Sleep Apnea and Women
According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 22 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea and up to eighty percent have not been diagnosed. Although men are much more likely to suffer from the sleep condition, there are millions of women undiagnosed, in part because the symptoms are different than their male counterparts. Although women do commonly suffer from the most apparent symptom of sleep apnea, snoring, it may not be as loud compared to their male counterparts. Also, women generally present their symptoms to doctors as depression, daytime drowsiness, insomnia, unexplained weight gain or hypertension and they are treated as such. This could contribute to the major differences in the prevalence of sleep apnea in men and women. Unfortunately, the health risks are just as dangerous for women. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, headaches, and decreased concentration. More serious conditions that are related to sleep apnea in the long-term are depression, diabetes, heart failure and heart attacks. If you are someone you know may be suffering from sleep apnea, consult your doctor immediately.
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