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What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Why is it Important

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As mentioned in our previous blog, not all snorers have obstructive sleep apnea but all sleep apnea patients snore.  Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where the airway becomes completely closed during sleep and air is not able to pass to the lungs.  The patient will stop breathing and their oxygen level in the blood drops.  The person wakes with a gasp for breath and will breath rapidly in order to bring the blood oxygen level up to where it should be.  This vicious cycle continues  many times during the night.  As you can imagine, there are a multitude of health problems that can arise from the stress this sleeping pattern plays on the body.  High cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, congestive heart failure, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, headaches, and depression are only a few of the health issues sleep apnea sufferers deal with.  Daytime sleepiness among children and adults affects performance in school and on the job.  A high percentage of motor vehicle accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.  Some children diagnosed with ADHD have actually been shown to suffer from sleep apnea.  Once the sleep apnea was treated, their ADHD was under control.

A patient can suffer from hypopnea episodes, a decrease in breathing caused by narrowing of the airway during sleep. This is different from apnea episodes in that breathing does not completely stop but is diminished significantly.  A lot of patients suffer from both apnea and hypopnea episodes during their sleep.   Hypopnea withour apnea is just as detrimental to the quality of sleep and needs to be managed.  Over time, it puts the body under stresses and physical symptoms can occur.

Quality sleep is important for your entire being.  It is during sleep that your body repairs itself, you store memory, you refresh.  Depending on your age, you should be getting 7-10 hours of quality sleep a night. If this is not the case, reach out to your physician, or here at SoundBridge Dental Sleep Therapy.  We can answer your questions and help lead you to a path of better sleep.

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