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Sleep Apnea

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Sleep Apnea

Break Free From Your CPAP Machine.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted during sleep, for longer than 10 seconds at least 5 times per hour (on average) throughout your sleep period. There are also events called hypopneas when your breathing is reduced and you're not taking in enough oxygen.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disruptive condition that profoundly impacts an individual’s breathing patterns during sleep. In essence, those afflicted with OSA experience repeated interruptions in their breathing, often for alarmingly prolonged durations. While historically considered more prevalent in men, it’s important to recognize that women can also be affected by this condition. Studies suggest that up to 10% of both genders grapple with sleep apnea, with incidence rates typically peaking during middle age.

In OSA, the airway obstruction, typically by the back of the tongue, leads to frequent breathing halts. Besides the immediate danger, this condition triggers low oxygen levels, elevated heart rate, and blood pressure spikes. These disruptions occur multiple times per hour, leaving individuals gasping for air and deprived of restorative deep sleep. Consequently, sufferers experience persistent fatigue and impaired functioning.

Understanding Apneas and Hypopnea

Apneas (e.g. no breath) are periods of 10 seconds or longer where you are trying to breathe but your airway is blocked and there is no airflow. When you are asleep, an apnea can last far longer than you could possibly try to hold your breath – sometimes over two minutes with no airflow. This can put a tremendous strain or your heart and nervous system. Your brain, to protect your body, will try to make you move your jaw (grind your teeth) to open the airway, or cause you to cough, move your body – anything – to break the apnea. Frequently, this leads  to a bad dream and you are jolted awake, gasping for air with your heart pounding.

Hypopnea (e.g. not enough breath) are periods of time when the oxygen level in your blood drops by more than 3 or 4%, depending on the way the sleep study is scored. With hypopnea, we are looking not simply at the nadir (lowest measure), because that may be momentary, but more importantly, how long the oxygen level remains under 90%. This also strains the heart and brain, as well as other processes in the body. As carbon dioxide builds up in your bloodstream, the pH of your blood changes, which can lead to erectile dysfunction and a host of other metabolic disorders.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is dangerous

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be fatal and is linked to many conditions, including strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, night time urination, and even impotence. Daytime sleepiness and exhaustion are the most significant symptoms of sleep apnea. Excessive sleepiness can have other adverse consequences, such as impaired mental abilities. People who drive with moderate to extreme sleepiness can be just as dangerous as those driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simply put, sleep apnea is not a good thing. Some studies show that the condition can shorten a person’s life by 10 years.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is treatable!

There are safe, effective ways to treat the condition that are not intrusive to your lifestyle or family. Contact the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Sleep Medicine today and schedule a consult.