Snoring And Sleep Apnea
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What are sleep apnea treatment options?
What can the dentist do for me?
What is a sleep study?
There are different levels of severity and increased severity means a higher risk of disease or death but all levels carry risk and in general sleep apnea worsens with time, age and weight. AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) or RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index) is the standard method of scoring and determining the level of sleep apnea.
AHI or RDI:
– >5 Normal
– 5-15 Mild
– 15-30 Moderate
– >30 Severe
What are the dangers of sleep apnea?
– Memory and mood changes
– Feeling tired or sleepy
– Not waking refreshed
– High blood pressure
– High cholesterol
– Heart attack
– Weight gain
– Difficulty losing weight
– Neck pain
– Macular degeneration
– Many people with Alzheimer’s Disease have sleep apnea
– And many other health consequences
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition with serious health outcomes. 80% of people with mild to moderate sleep apnea do not know it.
What causes OSA?
We are stuck with a single tube that must be flexible and collapsible so we can talk and swallow, but must stiffen up to resist collapse when we suck air into our lungs. The solution to this design problem is a complex group of muscles that change the shape of our throat when we talk and swallow, but also stiffen and dilate the passageway when we breathe in.These muscles work well when we are awake, but like all muscles they relax become less active when we are asleep. If our airway is abnormal in its size or shape or “stiffness”, for example if it is too small because of excess tissue in or around it, then the muscles responsible for holding it open during sleep are unable to do their job. The airway collapses so no air gets to the lungs.
The effect of gravity on the tongue and other structures surrounding the upper airway can narrow it when sleeping on your back.So OSA is caused by conditions that narrow this passageway, the upper airway, or make it more collapsible. Chief among these is obesity, especially obesity with a large neck, although other conditions such as having touching tonsils or a relatively small jaw also can promote upper airway collapse. Certain diseases such as hypothyroidism are also associated with OSA.
Drinking alcohol near bedtime can make the airway more collapsible.