Sleep apnea can negatively affect your quality of life, and the condition is associated with a number of significant health risks. Although it’s important to understand the facts about sleep apnea in order to identify the condition and get treatment, many people are confused or have misinformation about sleep apnea. Here are a number of common questions about sleep apnea to help you better understand the condition.
- What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition in which patients repeatedly stop breathing for brief periods while they are asleep. Sleep apnea may be either obstructive, when the tissues at the back of the throat collapse and cover up the airway opening, or central, when nerve signals to keep the airway open are disrupted. The two types of sleep apnea are treated differently, so it’s important to complete a sleep study to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
- What are the symptoms of sleep apnea? Daytime drowsiness is a hallmark sign of sleep apnea. Many patients with this condition even complain that they do not feel fully rested as soon as they wake up. Loud snoring also may indicate sleep apnea, especially if there are noticeable pauses in breathing. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea may suffer frequent morning headaches and sore throats, as well.
- Do I really need sleep apnea treatment? Sleep apnea is merely a quality of life issue. There are significant health risks associated with sleep apnea, which has an apparent relationship with high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease and may even put patients at increased risk for sudden death. Therefore, sleep apnea treatment can have numerous benefits and may even be a life-saving endeavor in some cases.
- Why should I see an oral surgeon for sleep apnea treatment? These specialists are well-versed in the structures of the jaw and face, which can contribute to sleep apnea episodes. They have extensive knowledge of effective sleep apnea treatments as well.
- What are my treatment options? Different treatment options help to address the symptoms of sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks and surgery to remove excess tissue near the airway opening. Obesity is linked with sleep apnea, so weight loss can reduce symptoms as well. Your oral surgeon will review each appropriate option with you in order for you to make an informed treatment decision.
Do you need more information about sleep apnea treatments? Contact our office to schedule an evaluation that can educate you about your options.