Sleep apnea can pose a serious threat to your health, but you might not even know you have it. If you have the slightest suspicion you do, it’s important to do something about it. We specialize in treating it, at Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN.
Just how common is sleep apnea? As many as eighty percent of the American population, or one of every five people, may have one of the several forms of sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. That’s twenty-two million people!
Sleep apnea comes in three forms:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is by far the most prevalent. It happens when your airway is blocked by soft tissues in the throat during sleep.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) does not involve airway blockage. Instead, the brain and the muscles that control breathing do not communicate properly.
- Complex sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and CSA.
Sleep apnea is most common in middle-aged, overweight men. But it can occur in anyone, including children.
If it is not treated, OSA can lead to serious complications, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Type 2 diabetes
It has also been associated with accidents involving automobiles and other heavy machinery, due to the drowsiness associated with it.
People with sleep apnea sometimes see improvement by making lifestyle changes, such as dropping a few pounds or consuming less alcohol. Even a change as small as sleeping on your side, instead of your back, can yield positive results.
Other treatments include a device called CPAP, a continuous air pressure machine. Others include an oral appliance that re-adjusts the position of the jaw and tongue. There are also more invasive options, like surgery.