First, Let’s Explore Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While there are three types of sleep apnea, OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is the most common. It’s estimated that over 30 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but many of those people are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, which means they do not ever receive treatment for this potentially life-threatening medical condition.
OSA causes a blockage of your airway while you sleep. In most cases of OSA, the muscles of the throat relax, and the soft palate and tongue collapse blocking your airway. When this occurs (sometimes hundreds of times during the night), you stop
breathing and often choke and gasp for air. Many people sleep through these lapses in breathing (lapses can last ten seconds or even longer); others wake up numerous times during the night.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is much less common than OSA and occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing while you sleep.
Mixed sleep apnea, also known as “complex sleep apnea syndrome,” is a combination of OSA and CSA. Signs and symptoms of the different types of sleep apnea make accurate diagnosis challenging, but most people suffer from OSA. The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable, but you have to be medically diagnosed with a sleep study first. Once that happens, an Aberdeen oral appliance therapy dentist can help.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most sleep studies were done in facilities. Now, some patients are provided with equipment that monitors their sleep in the comfort of their own homes. The equipment measures heart rate, airflow, blood oxygen levels, breathing patterns, and even leg movements. Once you get an accurate diagnosis, treatment may begin.