What is a sleep breathing disorder?
A sleep breathing disorder is the result of an obstruction in the oral or nasal airway that occurs as you sleep. You might not notice any trouble breathing during the day because when you are awake, your body is able to keep your airway open. As you fall asleep, your airway relaxes and can collapse creating the obstruction that results in a sleep breathing disorder. This obstruction in breathing if left untreated, limits body from getting enough oxygen during sleep. The obstruction can range from mild to severe. Mild is generally classified as snoring & severe classified as obstructive Sleep Apnea.
There are various risk factors associated that increases likelihood of having Sleep Apnea. Factors include being male over 40 years, obesity, enlarged tonsils, large tongue, small jaw, family history, GERD, nasal obstructions etc.
The symptoms associated with Sleep Apnea can be but not limited to fatigue, choking during sleep, dry mouth in the morning, snoring, poor sleep, health problems like stroke, heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, headaches etc.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Your doctor can discuss the treatment options. There can be surgical & non-surgical options such as medications, behavioural changes, dental appliances, and use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
The treatment of mild to moderate Sleep Apnea may be a dental device such as a mandibular advancement splint (MAS). This device is worn while you sleep and works to open your airway & stopping it from collapsing during sleep. This ensures that your airway remains open and reduces or eliminates the symptoms.
The most common treatment for severe Sleep Apnea is Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP). A sleep physician will prescribe this treatment.
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