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What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These interruptions occur because the muscles at the back of the throat temporarily relax and obstruct the upper airway. When the airway becomes partially or completely blocked, it leads to a reduction in airflow or even a complete cessation of breathing, resulting in apneas or hypopneas.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Several factors can contribute to the development of OSA, including:

  1. Obesity: Excess weight, especially around the neck, can increase the risk of airway obstruction during sleep.

  2. Anatomy: Certain physical features, such as a narrow throat or enlarged tonsils and adenoids, can predispose individuals to OSA.

  3. Age: OSA is more common in older adults.

  4. Gender: Men are more likely to develop OSA than women.

  5. Family History: A family history of sleep apnea may increase one's risk.

  6. Alcohol and Sedative Use: These substances can relax the throat muscles and worsen the condition.

  7. Smoking: Smoking can increase inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway, contributing to OSA.

Common Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Recognizing the symptoms of OSA is crucial for timely diagnosis and treatment. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Loud Snoring: Loud, disruptive snoring is often a prominent sign of OSA.

  2. Daytime Fatigue: Individuals with OSA may feel excessively tired during the day, regardless of how much they sleep at night.

  3. Witnessed Pauses in Breathing: A partner or family member may notice that the person with OSA stops breathing briefly during sleep.

  4. Morning Headaches: Frequent morning headaches can be a symptom of OSA.

  5. Difficulty Concentrating: OSA can impair cognitive function, making it challenging to concentrate and remember things.

  6. Mood Changes: Irritability, depression, and mood swings can be linked to poor sleep quality caused by OSA.

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The good news is that OSA is a treatable condition, and several treatment options are available:

  1. Lifestyle Changes: For mild cases, lifestyle modifications like weight loss, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and sleeping on your side can significantly improve symptoms.

  2. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP therapy involves using a machine that delivers a constant stream of air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep.

  3. Oral Appliances: These devices can reposition the lower jaw and tongue to help keep the airway open.

  4. Surgery: In severe cases or when other treatments are ineffective, surgical interventions may be considered to remove excess tissue or reposition the jaw.

  5. Positional Therapy: Some individuals experience OSA primarily when sleeping on their backs, so positional therapy techniques can help by encouraging sleeping on the side.

Conclusion

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder with potentially serious health consequences if left untreated. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking appropriate medical advice is crucial for improving the quality of life and reducing the risks associated with OSA. If you suspect you or a loved one may have OSA, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on suitable treatment options. A good night's sleep is essential for overall well-being, and addressing OSA can make a significant difference in one's life.

 

If you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and unable to get a good night’s sleep, Central Avenue Dental has the solution. Our NYC sleep apnea dentists provide the best non-invasive oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. Schedule a consultation today or learn more below.

Central Avenue Dental is one of New York’s premier dental practices, with convenient locations in Tribeca Manhattan and Valley Stream, Long Island. Our experienced dentists and staff are experts in advanced dentistry treatments, including sleep apnea oral appliances. Dr. Alevtina Edgar and Dr. Igor Ilyabayev are both certified in Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment and members of the American Dental Association and New York State Dental Association. We always put your satisfaction first and have been recognized as a Patient’s Choice Winner on Opencare. Visit our sleep apnea dentists today!

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