Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep problems among Chicago patients. People who have this condition often wake up after eight hours of sleep and still feel fatigued or experience daytime drowsiness. They may also have other symptoms such as morning headaches and confusion or difficulty concentrating. A sleeping partner may also alert the patient to loud snoring and periodic gaps in breathing.
Apnea, which comes from a Greek phrase meaning “without breathing,” may arise for different reasons. In most cases, the sleep apnea is obstructive. That is, the airway is blocked periodically during sleep, disrupting the breathing patterns. For a minority of people with sleep apnea, the fault lies with a problem with transmission of nervous system signals that prompt the breathing muscles to do their work.
Regardless of the source of sleep apnea, the condition leads to an insufficient amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. Accordingly, the heart rate will increase in order to increase oxygen levels. Reflexively, the brain will “wake up” and attempt to re-open the airway, preventing the patient from getting a fully restful night of sleep. These pauses in breath also cause a sharp and sustained rise in blood pressure putting constant stress on the body’s circulatory system.
Sleep problems not only leave people with immediate issues like the symptoms described above. Long-term effects include suppressed immune system response and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
As a consequence of the aforementioned effects, sleep apnea can play a significant factor in a number of diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, depression and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, patients with sleep apnea can turn to a number of different solutions to address the problem. When obstructive sleep apnea is the problem, a dental appliance can reposition certain structures in the mouth to prevent the airway blockage. A mask that ensures continuous airway pressure, or CPAP, may also be effective, although many patients complain that wearing the CPAP interrupts their sleep as much as the apnea itself.
An oral surgeon may also get involved in sleep apnea treatment if the condition does not respond to more conservative measures. Some patients may need to have the jaw restructured surgically or require the removal of excess soft tissue in the vicinity of the airway’s opening.
If you have sleep apnea, contact ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio in Chicago to explore your options for treatment to avoid its negative effects on your body. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your informative consultation today.