WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA)?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is a serious disorder where breathing is interrupted at night during sleep, reducing the brain’s access to necessary oxygen. It is not uncommon for sleep apnea episodes to occur hundreds of times in one night, with each episode lasting anywhere between 10-30 seconds. The dentists at Gentle Dentistry in Tampa, Florida, can help you learn more about this.
Hypopneas or apneas are known to trigger the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for activating your fight or flight response. Blood pressure and heart rate increase, and your body releases cortisol. High levels of cortisol over time can increase blood sugar levels. During obstructive sleep apnea, the airways of the mouth become blocked as the throat muscles and tongue relax. Without treatment, patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of concerns such as cancer, depression, strokes, dementia, and cognitive impairment.
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS:
- Depression or irritability
- Feeling fatigued even after naps
- Headaches when waking up in the morning
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Observable episodes of breathing cessation during rest
- Recurrent awakenings
- Waking up choking or gasping during sleep
RISK FACTORS FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA:
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Enlarged tonsils
- Larger circumference measurements of the neck, 17” or more
- Males have a higher risk of OSA
- Mild to moderate obesity
- OSA can occur at any age, even in children
- Retrognathic chin, a chin that is “tucked in”
- Scalloped-border tongue
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE OSA?
During your new patient examination at Gentle Dentistry, our dentists will screen you for the signs and symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, specifically obstructive sleep apnea. We will ask you specific questions regarding the quality of your sleep and talk to you about anything you regularly experience that might connect with OSA. Drs. Angela Rasmussen and Amanda del Cueto may recommend a sleep study with a board-certified sleep physician in the area. This will evaluate the airway while you sleep and is done in a single night in the comfort of your home. If necessary, your primary care doctor or sleep physician may also recommend an in-lab sleep test known as a polysomnography.
OSA TREATMENT OPTIONS:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine
- Ear, Nose, and Throat surgery
- Oral Appliances which are used to position the lower jaw forward for a more open airway
DO YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA?
At Gentle Dentistry of Tampa, FL, we are pleased to offer solutions for obstructive sleep apnea, including oral appliances.
Call (813) 734-7102 to request an appointment with Drs. Angela Rasmussen and Amanda del Cueto.