A few months ago we briefly touched on the topic of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (O.S.A) and the role of the dentist in this field.
Sleep apnea as previously discussed, is the cessation of breathing for at least 10 seconds at night while you are sleeping.
It is called Obstructive S.A. because the ‘breathing’ airway collapses.
There are different degrees of airway obstruction which can occur and based on the severity this can have varying effects on an individual.
Another important parameter is how often the individual actually stops breathing at night…this is usually measured by how many times per hour that the person stops breathing while they are asleep. If you want to get technical, it is called an Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI).
The most important factor to consider in all of this is that if you STOP breathing at night….you are suffocating.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
2. Cessation of breathing: *witnessed apneas*
3. Choking or gasping for air.
4. Memory loss, difficulty concentrating.
5. Morning headaches.
6. Nocturia: frequent awakenings at night to urinate.
7. Anxiety and depression.
8. Unrefreshed and poor quality sleep.
9. Esophageal reflux.
10. Excessive daytime sleepiness.
Please Note: numbers 1, 2, and 3 above are noticed by the individual’s bed partner.
In addition, number 10 is looked at as a cardinal symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
In the next issue we will look at a questionnaire that you can fill out in order to help with identifying whether or not you have any symptoms of O.S.A
Yours in restful sleep,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist