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What is Sleep Apnea?

Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  / Feb 28, 2018 / No Comment 
What is Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea and beyond.

People who suffer from sleep apnea experience a common but serious sleeping disorder. The disorder causes irregular and shallow breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea are often unaware of the condition. As it can only be detected during sleep when a machine is used to monitor breathing.

When you ask what is sleep apnea, Answer is: Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition. The person’s airways are closed or partially closed for at least 10 seconds where your lungs are not receiving air. This means that there is constant waking up through out the night which affects your brain as it stops you from going into a deep sleep.

Apnea is when a person completely stops breathing and hypopnea is when the person’s breathing is restricted. It can really affect the quality of life and your brain health. It can affect all types of people regardless of your weight and diet even a petite size woman can still have sleep apnea. Dentists believe that our lower face isn’t developing to its full potential which causes our passageway to become very narrow and hence restrict our breathing.

Levels of Sleep Apnea

  • Less than 5 disturbances – normal sleep
  • Between 5 and 15 disturbances per hour - Mild Sleep Apnea
  • Between 15 and 30 disturbances per hour – Moderate Sleep Apnea
  • More than 30 disturbances per hour – Severe Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a lot more common than we think. It affects 2 in 10 women and is more common than asthma but it is a condition that a lot of people don’t realise they have

So what sort of symptoms are associated with sleep apnea:

  • Constantly Waking up
  •  Snoring
  • Gasping for air or chocking in your sleep
  • Morning Headaches
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Poor concentration
  • Constant Tiredness
  • Depressed Mood
  • Lack of energy

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, its always great to see your doctor or your dentist in Melbourne CBD to discuss these further. They will measure your Apnea or Hypopnea (Apnea-Hypopnea index) which basically shows how many low breaths/no breaths a person will experience in the space of an hour. This is best done at a sleep clinic through polysomnography testing. You can also download apps on your phone that monitor your sleep patterns and tell you if there are disturbances through the night and how often. These apps are great if you want to get an idea before going to a doctor but aren’t as accurate as other methods.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep ApneaThere are a number of treatments available which make a significant change to the quality of sleep. You could wake up in the morning extremely refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

  • CPAP OR APAP machines blow air past your airway and up against your airway through your nose and mouth. This is a machine that involves a mask that is placed on a person at night and it keeps your airways from collapsing.
  • Changes to Lifestyle including losing weight and cutting down on alcohol can help
  • Oral Appliance or a Mandibular advancement device which is a mouth guard that holds the jaw forward during sleep. This device can be prescribed by your local dentist in Melbourne CBD.
  • Surgery can also be performed by a specialist usually a Ear, nose and throat Surgeon which occurs over a number of procedures

Remember, if you think this might be you go see your GP or dentist in Melbourne CBD they can help improve your quality of sleep and provide you with non invasive options for a better nights rest.

To get more information about Oral health and general dentistry please visit our video library.

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Author Minoo GhamariAuthor: Dr Minoo Ghamari

Gorgeous Smiles Dental Principal Dentist

**The content on this blog is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified dentist in Melbourne with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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