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Understanding Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

April 12, 2024


Understanding Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Despite being quite common, it is often underdiagnosed, with many individuals unaware of their condition and its potential impacts on overall health. For patients in Pasadena suffering from sleep apnea, at Genesis Dental Esthetics, we have created a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the various types of sleep apnea, their causes, symptoms, and the range of treatment options available.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. These interruptions, known as apneas, can occur dozens or even hundreds of times in a single night, leading to poor sleep quality and a range of health issues.

The two most common types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. CSA occurs when your brain doesn't signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. The symptoms of each type can vary, but they are all related to how the body processes air and oxygen.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The root causes of sleep apnea can be complex and multi-faceted. Here's a rundown of the primary contributors:

  • Genetic Factors: There is evidence that sleep apnea can run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Structural abnormalities in the airway or head and neck area can also contribute to an increased risk of sleep apnea.
  • Lifestyle and Environmental Influences: Certain lifestyle choices and environmental factors can contribute to or exacerbate sleep apnea. These include obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of sedatives.
  • Medical Conditions: Several medical conditions are associated with an increased risk of sleep apnea, including chronic nasal congestion, hypertension, and neurological conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease.
  • Age and Gender: Age is a risk factor in sleep apnea, with the condition being significantly more common in older adults. Gender plays a role as well, with men being more likely to have sleep apnea than women.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms can manifest differently in different people, and some can be more subtle than others. Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud, persistent snoring: A hallmark symptom of OSA but also common in CSA and complex sleep apnea syndrome.
  • Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep: These may be witnessed by another person, or you may notice that you wake up gasping for breath.
  • Sudden awakenings: Many individuals with sleep apnea report waking up abruptly due to shortness of breath or choking sensations.
  • Dry mouth or sore throat: Awakening with a dry mouth can be a sign that you have been breathing through your mouth due to nasal obstruction caused by sleep apnea.
  • Morning headaches: Sleep apnea can lead to reductions in oxygen levels, which may result in headaches upon waking.

The Role of Genesis Dental Esthetics in Sleep Apnea Treatment

Those who suffer from sleep apnea may not realize the impact that their mouth has on this type of condition. Sleepless nights, struggling for breath, and even dire distress are all a part of living with sleep apnea. Dr. Baghdasarian and our professional team at Genesis Dental Esthetics are here to reassure you that relief is within reach for all of our patients in Pasadena.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires timely intervention. Early detection and treatment play a pivotal role in managing the disorder and averting health complications. Our dedicated dentist, Dr. Ted Baghdasarian, offers effective dental techniques to address sleep apnea, including recommended dental devices that prevent airway blockage. Recognizing symptoms and understanding causes are crucial steps in providing optimal care. If you suspect that you might suffer from sleep apnea, take action to improve your sleep quality. Contact Genesis Dental Esthetics in Pasadena, CA, for an appointment. Don't suffer any longer; get the support you need.

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