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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes explained by your dentist near Arden

It is estimated that millions of men and women are affected by obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, and the most common type of apnea. People affected by sleep apnea are continually disrupted as they attempt to rest. The muscles that surround the throat become relaxed in sleep, restricting the passage and airflow is blocked. As many as a few hundred times a night, the person with obstructive sleep apnea will stop breathing.

The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by releasing a shot of adrenaline through the body. This disrupts sleep just enough to restore breathing, but not enough to cause conscious waking. Physically, the person experiencing an apnea episode may choke or gasp loudly, and resume snoring. Within minutes, airflow may once again become blocked and breathing interrupted.

When the body does not receive an adequate amount of rest, there is a risk to health and wellbeing. Sleep apnea, in particular, causes a number of problems in a very short period. In our dental practice near Arden, we work quickly to address obstructive sleep apnea to help patients guard their health. Scientific research shows that poor sleep can lead to various issues, including mood swings, depression, hyperactivity, lack of productivity, and decreased memory – with symptoms beginning after just a week of inadequate sleep.

One of the challenges with obstructive sleep apnea is in determining the cause of symptoms. Because sleep apnea sounds like chronic snoring, it is easy to overlook the hidden danger that is lurking. One way to protect your health is to consider whether you have one or more of the risk factors associated with this condition. When combined with symptoms, the recognition of risk factors could lead to a confirmed diagnosis and, most importantly, optimal treatment. Indicators that you could be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea include:
  • Obesity
  • History of sleep disorders within your family
  • Abnormalities within the structure of the nose or upper airway
  • Circumference of the neck is larger than 17cm
  • Adults aged 65 and older are at an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Research shows that twice as many middle aged men develop sleep apnea than middle aged women
  • The consumption of alcohol, especially before bed, increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnea, as does smoking or the use of sleep aids
  • A report from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that men and women of African American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent more commonly develop obstructive sleep apnea
At Asheville Smile Center, we work with sleep apnea patients to restore restful sleep using a customized oral airway appliance.

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