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What is Sleep Apnea



Woman covering ears while husband snores Over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious yet common sleeping disorder in which you stop breathing during sleep. At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer several treatments to reduce the symptoms of the disorder.

Types of Sleep Apnea


There are three main types of sleep apnea:
•  Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. This happens when the throat muscles collapse down and block your airways.
•  Central Sleep Apnea: Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the proper signals to your breathing muscles.
•  Complex Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea occurs during initial treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure device. This happens when someone who has obstructive sleep apnea also develops central sleep apnea during treatment.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea that is treated at Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. This occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax, narrowing or closing off your airways entirely. When the oxygen in the blood becomes depleted, the brain sends the signal for you to wake up so that you can open up your airways again. The sudden awakening is often accompanied by snorting, gasping, and choking sounds. This pattern can repeat itself hundreds of time during the night. People who suffer from sleep apnea are unable to get deep restorative sleep.

Complications of Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea can result in several complications for your overall health:
•  Daytime Fatigue: Since obstructive sleep apnea makes you wake up several times in the night, you are unable to get a night of restful sleep and hence remain irritable, drowsy and fatigued throughout the day. You may also have difficulty in maintaining focus and become more prone to depression. Sleep apnea also causes drowsy driving.
•  Heart Disorders: The oxygen deprivation in the blood can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure and can increase the chances of hypertension. You may also be at risk of recurrent heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, and strokes.
•  Diabetes: Sleep apnea increases your chances of developing type-2 diabetes.
•  Metabolic Disorders: Sleep apnea may also result in high cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and obesity.
•  Surgery Complications: People who suffer from sleep apnea may experience complications during and after surgery because they need to lie prone and are under the effects of general anesthesia, which prevents them from waking up.

Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Several risk factors can increase the chance of obstructive sleep apnea. People who are obese or have thicker necks may be more susceptible to sleep apnea as fat deposits or narrower airways can prevent proper breathing.

Sedatives, alcohol, and tranquilizers also relax your muscles and may lead to sleep apnea. People who smoke are three times more likely to develop sleep apnea than people who don’t.

As with many conditions, age, genetics, and family history also plays a role in developing sleep apnea.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea


At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Kevin Kay can treat your sleep apnea in several ways. These could include making some lifestyle changes, using breathing devices, and using oral appliances or implants. In very severe cases, surgery may also be recommended. Talk to us by calling us (425) 738-8476 today.

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