People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Your dentists here at Dodek Dental Group screen for signs of apnea. We will make recommendations accordingly.
If you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Your dentist is part of your health team that can recognize signs. Please ask if you have noticed signs of apnea.