What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway causing air flow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and the individual partially awakens. The airway then contracts and opens, causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. This scenario may occur many times during the night. The combination of low oxygen levels and fragmented sleep are the major contributors to most of the ill effects that the sleep apnea patient suffers. In addition to excessive daytime sleepiness, studies show that sleep apnea patients are much more likely to suffer from heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension), and strokes, as well as having a higher incidence of work related and driving related accidents.
What Are Some Symptoms & Long Term Effects On One’s Health?
Besides the usual nighttime signs that others can hear (snoring, waking up repeatedly through the night, gasping for breath), sleep apnea can manifest itself in symptoms such as morning headaches, fatigue, irritability, difficulty paying attention and depression.
Weight gain and elevated blood pressure are often linked to OSA, and long-term consequences can include an increased risks of developing cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer. Fortunately, there are proven methods for the treatment and relief of OSA symptoms.
Dental Sleep Medicine of Central Connecticut
955 South Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457
Phone: (860) 346-6737
Fax: (860) 704-0239