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Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sleep Apnea sounds like some sleeping disorder, right? 

However, it is a breathing disorder associated with sleep that can be commonly seen in all age groups. Patients with sleep apnea find it challenging to feel fresh even after a peaceful, whole night’s sleep. This is because people suffering from sleep Apnea cannot breathe continuously while sleeping. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep apnea that is more severe. In this type, the complete airway gets blocked, and the muscles of the parts associated with this airway relax, leading to a full cutoff of breathing.

What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

As discussed above, the primary cause of sleep apnea is the relaxation of muscles controlling the upper airway. This relaxation narrows down the way through which air gets in and out of the lungs. This leads to a stage when one can only breathe by opening the mouth, and thus, you need to wake up from sleep to breathe after every hour. The other factors causing Obstructive sleep apnea are :

  1. Obesity - Obesity increases the chances of OSA as obese people can suffer from obesity hypoventilation syndrome, which is a breathing disorder itself.
  2. Some disorders associated with the Endocrine systems like PCOD, hypothyroidism, and acromegaly can also worsen the Sleep apnea condition.
  3. Pulmonary systems such as Asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and obstructive pulmonary disease can also be causing OSA.
  4. Neuromuscular issues can also be a reason for OSA, as here, the brain fails to give signals to the muscles of the upper airway, resulting in disrupted breathing.
  5. Other causes can include pregnancy and organ failure of major organs like the heart and kidney.

Symptoms of OSA

The primary symptom of OSA is an interruption in breathing while sleeping. Other than this, these are other symptoms that can tell if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  1. Snoring while sleeping due to blocked air passage.
  2. Forgetting things from daily routine
  3. Lessened intimacy and reduced sex life.
  4. Morning sickness and headache due to lack of sleep.
  5. Severe symptoms may include depression and daytime drowsiness.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The treatment of OSA can vary depending upon the severity and cause:

  1. An obese person is advised to lose weight to fasten the curing process. Losing weight can also help decrease blood pressure as it can reduce drowsiness.
  2. Through continuous positive airway pressure therapy, the patient with OSA is advised to wear a face mask while sleeping. This is effective for the initial stage as the mask helps in creating positive airflow at night.
  3. Sleeping on side- by sleeping on sides, the snoring is reduced, which helps broaden the upper airway walls so that air can easily pass through.
  4. In severe cases and older patients, even surgery is performed to correct the obstruction in the upper airway. It is performed with the help of a laryngoscope that is inserted through the nose. This is considered the most effective treatment for OSA.

Up to 12% of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and dentistry serves an essential role in treating this silent pandemic. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as primary therapy for treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea who can't tolerate CPAP treatment. If you're encountering the symptoms mentioned above, call us and schedule a consultation with our experts today!

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