Team photograph of Dr Axelrad & staff

Sleep Apnea…What is it and how does it relate to dentistry?

Posted on by Dr. Robert Axelrad (Brampton Dentist)

During the day as we go about our daily activities, we are generally in an up-right or vertical position.

As we breathe in and out there is a steady stream of air going into our mouths down into our lungs and back out again.

At night, as we are lying down (and in a horizontal position), this steady stream of in and out air is often disrupted.

The tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat often fall back and block the airway. Those affected generally stop breathing during the night for often a minute or longer. This is called Sleep Apnea.

There are different severities and types of sleep apnea:
1) Obstructive.
2) Central.
3) Mixed.

Obstructive is the most common and for the purpose of this and future blogs relating to the subject of sleep apnea, we will discuss issues relating to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (O.S.A).
Let’s look at the signs of sleep apnea and what may arise if one suffers from this condition.

Signs
1) Headaches upon waking up in the morning.
2) Thirsty upon waking up in the morning.
3) Desire to sleep during the day.
4) Jerking of the limbs while sleeping.
5) Interrupted breathing during sleep and frequent choking.
6) Snoring. The spouse is often the one to notice this.

The effects of sleep apnea depend on the degree of O.S.A
Mild-moderate O.S.A:
1) Tired and drowsy during the day.
2) Memory loss.
3) Performance at work is affected.
4) A decrease in sexual interest.

Severe O.S.A:
1) Increased blood pressure.
2) Disturbance in heart rhythm.
3) Possible heart failure.

Conclusion
If we know that the problem is occurring because of a compromised ‘airway’, then we have to address what can be done to re-open the airway. Stay tuned for the next blog to learn more. Until then, breathe deeply…

Yours in good health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist

 

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