Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What Is It, Anyway?

January 12, 2016

obstructive sleep apneaWhile you may not think much about it, you’ve probably heard of sleep apnea. But did you know it’s a really serious condition that affects approximately 22 million Americans? Sufferers of sleep apnea have their breathing interrupted during sleep — as many as 200 times per night, for periods of 10 seconds each time. There are two types of the condition: central and obstructive, the most common. Keep reading to learn a little more about the differences between the two, and how you can seek sleep apnea treatment here in Dublin, OH.

Sleep Apnea: An Exhausting Condition

One of the most remarkable things about sleep apnea is the fact that the majority of cases go mis- or undiagnosed. That’s because its side effects — daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability, to name a few — are strikingly similar to those of other conditions, like anxiety and depression. Learning more about the two types of sleep apnea can help you or a loved one identify the problem and seek much-needed relief.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common type of the condition, obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when the airway is physically blocked by the tongue and lower jaw. The blockage can be partial or complete. OSA is thought to affect 4 percent of American men and 2 percent of American women.

While daytime sleepiness, irritability and headaches can be attributed to both types of sleep apnea, symptoms specific to OSA include:

  • Loud, chronic snoring caused by the obstruction. (Snoring can occur with central sleep apnea, too, but is more frequently associated with OSA.)
  • Breaks in breathing that are interrupted by a gasp or choking sensation

Central Sleep Apnea

Unlike OSA, central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused not by a physical blockage of air, but when the brain simply fails to send the “breathe” signal to the muscles in charge of the action. Central sleep apnea is an issue in communication, rather than mechanics.

Certain conditions can lead to CSA. They include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Brain infection
  • Stroke
  • Use of certain narcotics (like painkillers)

Seek Sleep Apnea Treatment in Dublin

You already know the team at Distinctive Smiles of Dublin is committed to providing you with the ultimate in dental care, but it may surprise you that our practice also provides top notch sleep apnea therapy. That’s right — dental professionals are the ones to turn to for treating this common condition. When you’re ready to find out if your daytime exhaustion and chronic headaches could be caused by sleep apnea, don’t wait to contact our office to learn more!

Book your appointment online today.