Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which breathing stops more periodically during sleep. Bouts of shallow breathing could also occur more frequently than usual.
When breathing stops, it could last for a few seconds or last for minutes, resulting in snorting, loud snores, and fatigue even after a whole night’s sleep. Sleep apnea also results in a shortage of oxygen supply in the blood, which can cause sleepers to be briefly awakened during the night.
Current Sleep Apnea Statistics in the US
Sleep disorders are a severe problem in the US, affecting 50-70 million adults. Of these, at least 25 million suffer from sleep apnea (1 in 5 adults). According to available population-based research, the prevalence of OSA with accompanying daytime drowsiness in the general population is around 2%-5% for adult women and 3%-7% for adult males.
Moreover, at least 10% of adults over 65 are thought to have OSA. Projections show that OSA is expected to affect 4% to 9% of middle-aged adults, yet the disorder is frequently undiagnosed and untreated.
Sleep apnea is a severe sleep and breathing condition linked to hypertension, cognitive impairment, heart disease, and stroke. It should be treated and managed to reduce the risk of death, seeing that every year, 38,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, with sleep apnea as a complicating factor (American Sleep Apnea Association).
Current Sleep Apnea Statistics in the US
Sleep disorders are a severe problem in the US, affecting 50-70 million adults. Of these, at least 25 million suffer from sleep apnea (1 in 5 adults). According to available population-based research, the prevalence of OSA with accompanying daytime drowsiness in the general population is around 2%-5% for adult women and 3%-7% for adult males. Moreover, at least 10% of adults over 65 are thought to have OSA. Projections show that OSA is expected to affect 4% to 9% of middle-aged adults, yet the disorder is frequently undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep apnea is a severe sleep and breathing condition linked to hypertension, cognitive impairment, heart disease, and stroke. It should be treated and managed to reduce the risk of death, seeing that every year, 38,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, with sleep apnea as a complicating factor (American Sleep Apnea Association).
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
It is the most common type of sleep apnea and happens when there’s a problem with your breathing mechanics. A mechanical problem occurs when the muscles in the throat relax.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
This type occurs when the brain fails to deliver correct signals to the muscles that control your breathing. When your brain fails to signal your muscles in the right way, it causes you to stop breathing briefly or to breathe so lightly that you don’t get enough oxygen.
People with obstructive and central sleep apnea develop complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.
Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obesity, which is often associated with the soft tissue of the mouth and throat, is the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Fat deposits around this soft tissue can cause the airway to become clogged during sleep when the throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed. More than half of those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are overweight (BMI of 25-29.9) or obese (BMI of 30.0 or above).
In children, OSA is mainly caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids and dental issues, including a large overbite. Congenital abnormalities such Pierre-Robin syndrome and Down syndrome are less prevalent causes. Lastly, medical problems such as childhood obesity(rarely), tumors, or airway growth could lead to OSA in kids.
Other Possible Causes or Risk Factors for OSA
- Narrow throat or thick neck circumference (often accompanied by narrower airways).
- Clogged Airways; adenoids and tonsils
- Males are twice more likely to suffer from OSA
- Age- Seniors are more likely to suffer from OSA
- Family History
- Use of sedatives, tranquilizers, or alcohol.
- Deviated septum (problem with nose structure)
- medical conditions, e.g., High blood pressure, type two diabetes, PCOS, congestive heart failure.
Causes of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
In many situations, doctors are unable to determine the reason for CSA. Therefore, doctors refer to this as primary or “idiopathic” CSA. However, some instances of CSA are linked to another sickness, a drug, or your surroundings:
Possible Causes or Risk Factors for CSA
- Medication and narcotics – particularly opiates like hydrocodone or fentanyl.
- Problems at the base of the skull or brain stem.
- High-altitude CSA – happens while you’re sleeping (above 15,000 feet). When you return to lower altitudes, it typically fades away.
- CSA with a characteristic Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern – caused by a stroke, heart failure, or renal failure. Doctors refer to this as CSB-CSA.
- Non-CSB CSA – caused by kidney problems, stroke, heart conditions, and other illnesses.
- Males and Seniors are also more susceptible.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Because the signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea are similar, it can be difficult to tell which one you have. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas:
- Snoring loudly
- Excessive drowsiness during the day (hypersomnia)
- Morning headache
- Episodes in which you stop breathing while sleeping — which another person might report
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth every morning after waking up
How Do You Get Diagnosed?
Sleep laboratory tests can confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea. The severity of the condition is determined by the patients’ symptoms and the frequency of respiratory events on laboratory testing. Sleep testing is available both at home and in medical facilities.
Qualified technicians and advanced sensors are accessible at either a hospital-based or a free-standing sleep center for in-center testing. First, the patient is made as comfortable as possible to sleep through the night. Then, extensive monitoring of the patient’s heart rate, leg mobility, oxygen saturation, brainwaves, and other essential benchmarks is performed to diagnose any sleep disorders.
HST (at-home sleep apnea testing) is a type of sleep apnea testing in the patient’s own house. A qualified professional instructs the patient on operating the equipment before the test.
A nasal sensor, a band that goes around the chest, and a finger clip are the most common pieces of equipment. When the patient is ready to sleep, they turn on the gadget and typically fall asleep. Then, the equipment is returned to the technician for analysis after the test.
Home Sleep Study vs. Sleep Center: Which One Is Better?
Home sleep testing will suffice if you are very likely to have moderate to severe sleep apnea and have no other relevant medical conditions. Sleep centers, however, are significantly more comprehensive and detailed. This attention to detail ensures that the results are precise. Hence this is the recommended option.
What Are the Health Issues Caused by Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea causes excessive daytime sleepiness, which raises the risk of car accidents and depression. It is also associated with hypertension in almost half of the patients, and untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease and death. Other issues linked to sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Irregular cardiac rhythm
- Heart failure
- Gastric reflux disease
- Heart attack
- Nocturnal angina
- Insomnia and poor sleep quality
Dangers of No Sleep (Insomnia)
Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:
- Daytime drowsiness, moodiness, fatigue, and irritability.
- Difficulty concentrating and find yourself falling asleep at work while watching TV, or even when driving.
- medical issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, and weight gain.
- Angina pectoris
- Memory problems
- Stress in relationships
- Coronary artery disease
- Irregular heartbeat
Top 3 Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
If you have a medical issue that causes your throat to become too narrow, e.g., deviated nasal septum, a tiny lower jaw with an overbite, and enlarged tonsils. Surgery may be a good solution. The most prevalent forms of sleep apnea surgeries include Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), nasal surgery, and mandibular maxillomandibular advancement surgery.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
It is the most frequent treatment for sleep apnea. It involves sleeping with a mask over your nose or mouth. The mask is connected to a machine that continuously pumps air into your nose. This airflow keeps your airways open, allowing you to breathe normally. More advanced forms of CPAP include Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) and Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP).
- Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea dental devices are also popular options in keeping the airway open. They are designed by dentists that specialize in treating sleep apnea. Such a device shifts the tongue or mandible forward, allowing patients with moderate apnea to sleep better. The best dental device for sleep apnea.
CPAP vs. Oral Appliances: Which is Better?
CPAP and oral appliances are the two most often used treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CPAP is commonly thought to be more successful at lowering the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). However, CPAP therapy has potential side effects: nasal dryness and congestion, claustrophobia, face skin abrasions, air leaks, and conjunctivitis.
For individuals with mild illness who cannot tolerate CPAP, oral appliances are a better choice. An obstructive sleep apnea dental device can be tailored to your specific needs by a qualified dentist. With such an advanced, effective oral appliance, treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea can be realized with minimal discomfort.
What Are the Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment?
- Improved Sleep – Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing up to 90 times each hour, disrupting sleep as the body recovers from breathing problems. To benefit from better sleep, you must treat sleep apnea.
- Lower Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke – People with sleep disorders are three times more likely to suffer from hypertension and 4.5 times more likely to experience a stroke.
- Reduced Risk of Depression – Any sleep disruption leads to an elevated risk of depression, but people with severe disturbances are 2.6 times more likely to suffer from chronic depression.
- Lower Risk of Mortality – Sleep apnea causes 38,000 related deaths every year. To reduce the risk of dying, treat sleep apnea.
- Better Diabetes Management – Several studies have found that those with diabetes and untreated sleep apnea had poorer blood sugar control.
- Reduced Risk of Cancer – According to findings published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, those with obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, and breast cancer.
Sleep Apnea Dental Devices for Sleep Apnea
It should never be a question whether or not to get treatment for sleep apnea. However, because there are several treatment choices, deciding how one should be treated.
For this, we are the ultimate go-to. You can rely on Dental Sleep Medicine of Greenville to deliver revolutionary sleep apnea dental devices to improve sleep and eliminate sleep apnea symptoms. But First, let’s discuss which treatment option suits you! Contact us for a complimentary consultation.