Sleep apnea affects an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans and is believed to be on the rise along with obesity rates and heart disease. This increase means it is more important than ever to stay informed. One fact to know: there are different kinds of sleep apnea. Let’s explore the two main types.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common kind of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is estimated to affect around 30 percent of men and 15 percent of women. Patients who suffer from this disruptive sleep disorder have difficulty with concentration, thought, and memory during the day. Obstructive sleep apnea has also been shown to cause more accidents in the workplace and while driving. In fact, people with sleep apnea have three times the risk of getting into a car accident than the general population.
Caused by a blockage of the airways during sleep, usually from excess body weight, OSA symptoms affect sufferers both day and night. During sleep they snore loudly, gasp for air, suffer from insomnia, and experience restless sleep. By day, they may feel lethargic no matter how long they sleep and suffer from a host of issues including morning headaches, irritability and confusion, fatigue, poor memory and attention, and even sexual dysfunction.
This type of sleep apnea also increases the risk of developing many other conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure and heart disease, insulin resistance, and depression.
Central Sleep Apnea
The second type of sleep apnea is referred to as central sleep apnea (CSA). Rather than creating an interruption to the airway, this type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles responsible for breathing. Usually occurring in infants or adults with heart disease, this type of sleep apnea is just as serious as its counterpart but is significantly less common.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Symptoms vary between the two kinds of sleep apnea, and so do the treatments. When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, the CPAP machine is the most common means of reopening the airway. However, for patients with a CPAP intolerance, oral appliance therapy is an excellent way to facilitate normal breathing throughout the night. We can explore this option with you if your OSA is mild to moderate.
The cause, symptoms, and frequency of the two sleep apnea types are different, and it is crucial to understand both. However, you need a healthcare professional to make a diagnosis and treat the underlying issues.
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from either kind of sleep apnea, contact our Sleep Apnea dental office and schedule an appointment. We can help you determine if a sleep test is necessary and can provide you with expert treatment. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out and ask our Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Dentist.
Chesapeake Sleep Center
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061