Sleep apnea is a prevalent disorder where the patient has shallow breaths or one or more pauses during breathing while asleep. In many cases, sleep apnea tends to go undiagnosed. It is hard for doctors to detect the condition during your routine office visits. Besides, no blood test can aid a physician to diagnose the problem. People with sleep apnea may not realize they have the condition as it occurs during sleep. Nonetheless, a bed partner or a family member can note the problem.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) pertains to the anatomic narrowing down of the upper airway. The narrowing can be anywhere from the lower throat, back of the throat, or nose. This constricting can be a static condition such as enormous tonsils, severely deviated nasal septum, or can be the dynamical effect with loss of throat tissues, which collapse when one breaths. When you try breathing in, air that squeezes past the constriction can cause loud snoring. People with OSA usually have low levels of oxygen in their blood as well as disrupted sleep.
Who is at Risk of Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is generally a common condition. Approximately 50% of people diagnosed with sleep apnea are overweight. Gender plays a notable part in determining the risk of getting sleep apnea. Males are more prone to sleep apnea than females are. Although, one can have the condition at any age in life, the risk increases with increase in age. A family health history of sleep apnea also increases your risk of the condition.
People with narrow airways in their mouths, throats, and noses are more likely to experience sleep apnea. Small airways might be because of allergies, the shape of these structures, or other problems that cause congestion.
In small children, there is a likelihood of having enormous tonsil tissues in their throats. A child with enlarged tonsil tissues is prone to sleep apnea. In addition, overweight children are also at an increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Around half of people with a sleep apnea diagnosis also have high blood pressure. Besides, sleep apnea is linked to diabetes, smoking, metabolic syndrome and risk factors for heart failure and stroke.
Ethnicity and race might play some role in the danger of developing sleep apnea. However, exploration and research are needed on this.
What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Ongoing loud and chronic snoring is one of the major signs of sleep apnea. Noticeable, there may be an occurrence of pauses during snoring. Gasping or choking may then follow the breaks. When you sleep on your back, it is when you will snore the loudest. However, when you turn on your side, the snoring might be less noisy. Generally, you might not have snores every night. However, the snoring gets louder and happens more often over time. Fortuitously not everyone who snores during sleep has sleep apnea.
Another common sign is fighting inevitable sleepiness during the day while driving or at work. You may rapidly fall asleep during the day when you are not active. Even if you do not sleep during the daytime, talk with your doctor if you experience breathing problems when sleeping.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
• Headaches in the morning
• Lack of concentration and learning or memory problems
• Having personality changes or mood swings, feeling depressed or irritable
• Frequent urination at night
• A sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up
Sleep apnea can lead to hostile or angry behavior, poor performance at school and hyperactivity in children. Children with sleep apnea may use their mouths to breathe instead of their noses during the day.
What are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?
If untreated, sleep apnea may have severe adverse effects on your health. If you are unsure about the treatment for sleep apnea, you need to take this as a wake-up call and discuss your snoring and other signs with your doctor.
1. High Blood Pressure
People with obstructive sleep apnea are at a high risk of developing high blood pressure. Waking frequently at nighttime causes your hormonal systems to go into overdrive, this will result in elevated levels of blood pressure during the night. Low levels of oxygen in the blood, caused by oxygen constriction, may cause hypertension in people with sleep apnea.
2. Heart Disease
People with obstructive sleep apnea have a raised risk of a heart attack, which could cause death while sleeping. The causes may be stresses of frequent rousing during sleep or low oxygen levels. Atrial fibrillation and stroke are also linked to sleep apnea. Disruption in oxygen flow makes it hard for the brain to regulate blood flow to arteries and the brain itself.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
About 80% of diabetics experience obstructive sleep apnea. Corpulence is a common risk factor for the two problems. Regularly, sleep apnea can lead to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.
4. Mental Health Issues
Obstructive sleep apnea can influence your mental health, causing issues from crankiness due to lack of sleep, to serious depression. In fact, there is a well-established link between sleep apnea and depression.
Sleep apnea can also make a patient prone to gastroesophageal reflux disease, weight gain, and headaches.
Is Orthognathic Surgery the Best Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
It is possible to treat obstructive sleep apnea effectively. Your doctor will select the treatment that suits you depending on whether your condition is severe, moderate or mild. The best treatment for sleep apnea is one which is directed to reducing the constriction in the airways. Jaw surgery is very effective in enlarging constricted airways. Jaw surgery is carried out in the hospital under general anesthesia and may require you to stay at the health facility for one to two days.
This plastic surgery, Orthognathic surgery, has more benefits than only enlarging airways. It goes far in enhancing various aspects of patient’s visual appearance that have for a long time been embarrassing to them as well as raising their self-consciousness. To many sleep apnea patients, this surgical procedure is much more than just aesthetics or looks, and rather it goes far in enhancing their lives.
If you suffer from the above symptoms of sleep apnea, it is right you seek immediate medical attention. Ensure your doctor is qualified and certified to avoid more problems from a shoddy work. One of the outstanding physicians in the field is Dr. Jamali. He is a maxillofacial surgeon who has the relevant board certifications. He has over nine years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Jamali is based in New York, and his physical address is 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, USA. You can contact Dr. Jamali through 212-480-2777.