If you’re excessively tired during the day without a clear cause, snore loudly, or wake up gasping for breath at night, you might be one of the over 12 million Americans with sleep apnea.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing halts repeatedly during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times each night. These pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. Your brain responds to this drop in blood oxygen by briefly rousing you to restart breathing, which is usually so brief that you won’t even remember it. This disrupts your ability to reach the deeper, restorative stages of sleep, causing daytime sleepiness.

Recognizing Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Common signs of sleep apnea include persistent snoring, waking up struggling for air, making choking noises that signal breathing resumption, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, and dozing off at inappropriate times.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three forms of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most frequent type caused by a blockage of the airway.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA), where there’s no blockage, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
  • Complex sleep apnea, a combination of OSA and CSA.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Beyond tiredness, untreated sleep apnea can lead to severe health issues like hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. It can cause complications with medications and during and after surgeries.

Treatment Approaches

Management ranges from lifestyle changes like weight loss and smoking cessation to medical devices, oral appliances, and even surgery for severe cases.

If you suspect sleep apnea in yourself or a family member, contact us. We can refer you to a specialist for a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan, which might include a custom oral device.

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