During sleep, obstructive sleep apnea causes your airway to become blocked multiple times, causing you to stop breathing. Not only does this weaken your immune system and increase your risk for chronic disease, but it can also shorten your life expectancy.
A patient can be diagnosed with different types of sleep apnea. What is the difference between mild and severe obstructive sleep apnea?
Mild sleep apnea characteristics
An individual suffering from mild sleep apnea experiences between five and fourteen cessations of breathing every hour. Considering that the average person sleeps 8 hours a night, this means you may stop breathing over 100 times! Symptoms of mild sleep apnea may also include fatigue during the day and snoring at night.
Your partner may notice that you sleep restlessly or wake frequently during the night. Most people with sleep apnea have no recollection of these periods of being unable to breathe. Despite its mildness, this form of obstructive sleep apnea still requires treatment.
Symptoms of severe sleep apnea
People with severe sleep apnea stop breathing 30 times or more every hour while they are sleeping. In other words, they may stop breathing almost 250 times during the course of the night. Snoring, fatigue, and restless sleep may be more pronounced in people with severe sleep apnea than in those with mild sleep apnea.
As a result of severe sleep apnea, you are also more likely to suffer from other health problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea, such as headaches upon awakening, fatigue during the day, and even depression. A specialist should be consulted if you have severe sleep apnea.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your level of obstructive sleep apnea may be influenced by any additional medical conditions you may have as well as your level of fatigue. Sleep studies, which typically take place overnight, are the most common method of diagnosing sleep apnea. Symptoms of this disorder can be discussed with your dentist, and they may refer you to a sleep specialist.
In the past, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines were considered the only way to treat sleep apnea. Thanks to modern advances in treatment, most types of sleep apnea can now be treated with oral sleep appliances. These devices are similar to retainers in terms of fit and are easy to wear and travel with. Moreover, they provide relief from your symptoms of sleep apnea, allowing your life to return to normal.
Have you been experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea? In order to achieve a better night’s sleep, our dental office can assist you in obtaining a proper diagnosis. We can help you determine if mild or severe obstructive sleep apnea is affecting your life and health by examining your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.