Understanding the Causes of Sleep Apnea

You’re probably familiar with the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, i.e., intense snoring, gasping, and morning headaches. But if you experience the nightly interruptions caused by sleep apnea, you might wonder what causes them in the first place.

In this blog, Dr. Roberto Palmieri, accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, explains the common causes of obstructive sleep apnea and how we can treat your condition here at Palmieri Dentistry in Mooresville, North Carolina. 

Sleep apnea basics

There are three kinds of sleep apnea: 

Central sleep apnea

This occurs when your brain doesn’t get the signal to keep breathing while you sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea

This occurs when your airway is temporarily obstructed.

Complex sleep apnea

This is a combination of the previous two types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea in America, affecting more than 22 million individuals 一 although not all 22 million even know they have sleep apnea. It’s estimated that about 8 of every 10 cases are undiagnosed. 

Symptoms and complications of sleep apnea include:

Obstructive sleep apnea also increases your risk of heart problems and diabetes.

What causes obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obstructions (such as excess throat tissue) in your airway. The following risk factors increase your risk of this type of obstruction:

Other respiratory conditions, including congestion, acid reflux, and sinus infections, can also put you at risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Additional risk factors include being male, smoking, consuming excess alcohol, and being over 40. 

Treating sleep apnea

Dr. Palmieri treats mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea with mandibular advancement devices, enabling you to sleep better 一 and improve your overall health. 

Oral devices treat this type of sleep apnea because it gently repositions your jaw to keep your airway open and prevent excess tissue from blocking your airway. 

Treating sleep apnea is essential for improving your quality of sleep and avoiding the unwanted complications of sleep apnea. Once Dr. Palmieri fits you with your custom oral device, you simply insert it at bedtime and go to sleep. There’s no noisy machine to use! 

You may also find that lifestyle changes can further reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Lifestyle changes that support quality sleep include:

Practicing good sleep hygiene can also help. For starters, go to bed at the same time every night, avoid TV and other screens right before bed, and sleep in a cool, dark room.

Don’t let untreated sleep apnea stop you from getting the sleep you deserve. Book your appointment today and find out if a mandibular advancement device is right for you. Call our office at 704-247-6336 or book your appointment online today.

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