What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea New York, NY

Having restless sleep or interrupted sleep can lead to various problems throughout your day, and obstructive sleep apnea may be the cause. However, this condition is difficult to treat if a person does not discuss their sleep habits with a professional. So, what is it, who is at risk for this and can it be treated?

General information about sleep apnea

This is a condition where the throat muscles relax to the point that the airway becomes closed, which then causes breathing to temporarily but continuously stop during the night. These brief pauses in breathing can last for more than 30 seconds every hour and continue for the entire night, according to the Mayo Clinic. The brain senses this disruption and forces the body to wake up. Fully understanding this condition involves knowing what signs to look for, what it is caused by and what the various treatment options are.

Common symptoms

According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 18 million adults in America alone have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. There are a few obvious symptoms that people can watch out for and that doctors may ask about. Perhaps the most noticeable one is heavy snoring. More subtle signs include feeling exhausted throughout the day even if a person slept the recommended time the night before. This can lead to drowsiness, depression, trouble focusing, irritability and even heart trouble if left untreated.

Causes and risk factors

There are many different reasons a person may have obstructive sleep apnea. It can happen to anyone, although it is more common in men than women. Often, people with this condition are completely unaware of it. However, there are certain risk factors people can watch for, including the following hereditary aspects and lifestyle habits:

  • Being overweight
  • A small airway
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive smoking or drinking
  • Asthma

Treatment options

Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help individuals keep breathing while asleep. Before treatment, a doctor can run numerous tests to monitor a person’s breathing during sleep to determine how severe the condition is.

A common treatment is the use of a sleep mask that delivers continuous air to the nose, mouth or both during sleep to maintain positive airway pressure, allowing for sleep uninterrupted by breathing difficulties. This device is called a continuous positive airway pressure mask. There are also some lifestyle changes that can be made, such as losing weight or applying a nasal spray before bedtime. As a last alternative, surgery is also an option if other therapies do not work for a person. 

Conclusion

If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms listed above, it is best to speak with a doctor and undergo testing. It may be that a person is unaware of having sleep apnea, but the risk factors and subtle symptoms may provide a clue. Restful sleep is key to having a good and productive day, so do not delay in seeking professional help.

Request an appointment here: https://www.stevensyropdds.com or call Steven B. Syrop, DDS at (212) 548-3272 for an appointment in our New York office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Recent Posts

Will Botox® Help Relieve TMJ Pain?

Botox® is commonly used in cosmetic surgery, however, more recently, TMJ specialists have been exploring its use for treating disorders and dysfunctions related to the temporomandibular joint. There are a number of treatment options for addressing TMJ, including at-home remedies, as well as more extensive procedures such as surgery. Botox® falls in the middle, being…

How Serious Is TMJ?

TMJ dysfunction is a common disorder that many individuals suffer from. It usually causes an immense amount of discomfort, as well as a limited ability to do certain things. Those that suffer from TMJ may have varying symptoms depending on the severity of the condition, which makes it difficult to know how serious it is.…

Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Appliance Therapy

It may be surprising to some, but did you know your dentist can actually help with sleep apnea? The dentist is able to prescribe and fit you for a special oral appliance that can assist with proper airflow throughout the night. Here is what you should know about these devices.Obstructive sleep apnea is when you…

Common Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

People of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, but it is most common in adults over the age of 40. According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 18 million Americans suffer from this condition. In children, this is often caused by enlarged tonsils, which can obstruct a child's airway during sleep. In adults, males…

Recent Posts

Will Botox® Help Relieve TMJ Pain?

Will Botox® Help Relieve TMJ Pain?

Botox® is commonly used in cosmetic surgery, however, more recently, TMJ specialists have been exploring its use for treating disorders and dysfunctions related to the temporomandibular joint. There are a number of treatment options for addressing TMJ, including at-home remedies, as well as more extensive procedures such as surgery. Botox® falls in the middle, being…

How Serious Is TMJ?

How Serious Is TMJ?

TMJ dysfunction is a common disorder that many individuals suffer from. It usually causes an immense amount of discomfort, as well as a limited ability to do certain things. Those that suffer from TMJ may have varying symptoms depending on the severity of the condition, which makes it difficult to know how serious it is.…