People are all too quick to brush snoring aside and think it is a normal bodily function. Unfortunately, excessive and loud snoring could be an early sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder which can have serious, not to mention potentially fatal, consequences. It occurs when breathing starts and stops throughout the evening. Learning about the complications associated with sleep apnea can help you understand just how important it is to seek treatment for this sleep disorder.
The Different Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a general term that is used to describe several different types of sleep disorders in which breathing starts and stops throughout the evening.
The different types of sleep apnea include:
- Central sleep apnea – the brain has difficulty sending proper signals to the muscles that are responsible for breathing. This results in the breathing starting and stopping while a person sleeps.
- Obstructive sleep apnea – occurs when the throat muscles relax to the point that it causes interruptions in breathing
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome – happens when an individual exhibits signs of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea
While all forms of sleep apnea are serious and can have severe consequences if left untreated, we will focus mainly on obstructive sleep apnea as that is the type that can be treated with the help of an oral surgeon.
The Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea
Complications from sleep apnea will vary depending upon your previous health and how severe your obstruction is that is causing this sleep disorder. Complications typically range from loud, disruptive snoring and daytime fatigue to high blood pressure and diabetes.
Some of the more common complications associated with obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Extreme daytime fatigue – people often have an inability to stay away the entire day or they wake up and feel as if they haven’t slept at all
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart problems – sleep apnea can cause low blood oxygen levels to occur. When blood oxygen levels are low for prolonged periods of time, it puts a strain on the heart. Too much strain can cause a person to experience a heart attack.
- Mood swings – sleep apnea can often cause people to feel anxious, depressed, or quick tempered
- Type 2 diabetes – sleep apnea has been linked to the development of insulin resistance which results in type 2 diabetes
- Complications during surgery or with medications – patients with sleep apnea may not react the same way to medications or surgical procedures
- Problems with metabolic syndrome – patients often develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar when they have sleep apnea
How an Oral Surgeon can Help People with Sleep Apnea
An oral surgeon has undergone extensive training and education to be able to properly diagnosis sleep apnea. Patients who believe they may be suffering from this sleep disorder could benefit by scheduling a visit to the oral surgeon.
The first appointment with an oral surgeon is typically a consultation. During this consultation, the oral surgeon will discuss your symptoms with you, take a detailed look at your health history, look at x-rays, and conduct a brief examination. In some situations a sleep study may be recommended to provide a comprehensive diagnosis of sleep apnea. A sleep study involves an overnight stay where your sleeping will be monitored.
Once all of these are completed, the oral surgeon can provide recommendations for treatment.
Possible Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Depending upon the severity of your sleep apnea, an oral surgeon may make the following recommendations for treatment:
- Use of a CPAP machine that provides forced oxygen through a mask to help you breathe during the night
- Surgical option to adjust the muscles in the palate and throat – a procedure known as uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasy. This procedure known as UPPP can be performed surgically or with the aid of a laser.
- Tightening of the palate with the use of a radio-frequency probe
- Repositioning of the lower or upper jaw to help increase the airway
If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery and Dental Implants, located in Melbourne, Florida, to schedule a consultation. Dr. Sedaros and his associates will provide you with a detailed consultation and discuss possible treatment options for your sleep apnea. Call our office to schedule an appointment.