What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious health disorder in which a person’s breathing is interrupted while asleep. This interruption in breathing may be due to an illness or obstruction.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the normal signals to the brain aren’t functioning properly. A medical condition such as encephalitis, Parkinson’s disease, or arthritis often causes these sleep disruptions.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when something blocks the patient’s airway. For example, soft tissues like your tongue can collapse toward the back of your throat. It is a common occurrence, usually leading to snoring. However, it can affect your normal breathing which in turn can lead to other health issues.

It is possible to suffer from a mix of both CSA and OSA. For patients who experience any form of sleep apnea, it is important to consult with your doctor and sleep specialist to seek treatment. Our La Grange, KY dentist can also be of help in providing solutions to problems when an obstruction is causing the problem.

Symptoms and Signs of Sleep Apnea

Below are just a few of the issues that may be present with sleep apnea:

  • Inconsistent breathing while sleeping
  • Loud snoring
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
Who is at risk for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, though the following can increase your susceptibility to developing sleep apnea:

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Enlarged soft tissues of the throat
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Nasal problems
  • Family health history
Effects of Sleep Apnea

If your sleep apnea is not treated, serious medical conditions can occur such as:

  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Asphyxiation
Preventing Sleep Apnea

A balanced diet and regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle that can reduce the risk of sleep apnea.  Consider implementing the following to further reduce your risk if they pertain to you:

  • Change sleeping positions so that your soft tissues won’t affect your breathing
  • Lose weight to reduce the amount of stress placed on your heart and neck
  • Avoid sedatives and alcohol. These can overly relax your throat and disturb your normal breathing
Treatment for Sleep Apnea

We know that every one of our patients has a unique need.  We work diligently to provide you with healthy solutions so you can live the best life possible.  Talk with us about dental devices that can support your breathing and reduce your risk of sleep apnea.  We will look at a number of methods that will help you sleep better including:

  • Tongue stabilizers
  • Custom mouth trays
  • Nightguards
  • CPAP machines

Consult with our La Grange, KY dentist if you experience problems when sleeping.  We’ll work with your medical team to determine what kind of treatment is best for your health.  Call us with concerns or questions at (502) 241-9407.