June 24, 2019
You’re sitting in traffic on your way to work. You’re on your second cup of coffee, but you still don’t feel awake. You find yourself dozing off temporarily, jerking yourself awake after a second or two. Even though you know you should be wide awake by now, especially because you’re driving, you just can’t shake this exhaustion that consistently bothers you. Does this sound familiar? You might have sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. Let’s look at the 3 different types of sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
“Apnea” means “no sleep” in Greek. In English, it’s defined as a temporary cessation of breathing during the night. When you don’t breathe for whatever reason, your brain panics because it’s not receiving the oxygen it needs. This will usually wake you up. As a result, you might not get the restful sleep you need. One or two of these episodes is nothing to worry about, but several of them a night can cause serious health problems if left untreated. Let’s look at the 3 types of sleep apnea and the symptoms of each of them:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea. In OSA, something has happened to block the airway and keep you from getting enough oxygen. Typically, it’s the result of tissues in the throat relaxing and restricting the flow of air. Symptoms of OSA can include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Mood swings
- Abrupt and frequent awakening during the night
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
CSA occurs when the brain fails to signal to the respiratory system that it needs to breathe. Sometimes, you start breathing again automatically, so you may not even wake up during an episode of CSA. This type of sleep apnea is usually more of a neurological than a physical problem. Talk to your dentist or doctor if you have any of these CSA symptoms:
- Shortness of breath that wakes you up
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep
Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA)
Like the name implies, people with MSA experience symptoms of OSA and CSA simultaneously. Oftentimes, a patient may recognize that they have sleep apnea, but think it’s either OSA or CSA. The discovery of MSA is fairly new. At the moment, the only way to diagnose MSA is through an overnight sleep study where symptoms can be closely watched and identified.
Lack of quality sleep can cause a whole host of other health problems, so getting treated for sleep apnea is massively important. If you think you might have it, it never hurts to see your dentist to receive a proper diagnosis.
About the Author
Dr. C. J. Landry opened his own dental practice in Marrero, LA immediately after earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the LSU School of Dentistry in 1982. If you think you have sleep apnea, Dr. Landry might be able to help you with an oral appliance that will open the airway and finally grant you a good night’s sleep. To learn more, click here or call (504)-348-0080.
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