She is sound asleep, or seems to be. She is snoring, lightly. Then, without warning – silence. Her breathing has stopped, and for agonizing, uncounted seconds there is silence. The silence goes on, and on – and then her breathing resumes.
This happens repeatedly throughout the night.
This imaginary sleeper may be suffering from sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder in which someone’s breathing stars and stops, over and over, through the night. Because of this, her brain and body may not be getting enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. This is the most common type. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, most often when soft tissue at the back of the throat relax.
Central sleep apnea, or CSA. In this less-common form, the airway isn’t blocked. Instead, the brain doesn’t signal body to breathe because of a problem in its respiratory control center.
While anyone at any age can have sleep apnea, the most common patients are men who are:
- over forty
- have a large neck size, large tonsils or tongue
- have a nasal obstruction
- have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
It also tends to run in families.
Sleep apnea is serious not only because it deprives people of sleep, affecting daily functions. If it isn’t treated, it can lead to:
- high blood pressure
- heart problems
If you have sleep apnea, it’s important to find a treatment that works for you. Our Dentist and Sleep Apnea and TMJ Solutions understand this. the Dentist specializes in sleep apnea, and has treated thousands of cases during his career. If you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea, call his office in Brentwood, outside of Nashville, to set up an appointment or consultation.