10 Nov

City of London dentist successfully treats sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs during sleep where the patient actually stops breathing. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night. Even more incredibly is the fact that most people who suffer from sleep apnea rarely know they suffer from the condition. Most people only become aware when they are informed by a family member or friend.
Not to be confused with simple snoring, which is a sound caused by breathing during sleep, sleep apnea is the actual cessation of breathing which often causes a patient to make choking noises. There are two main types of sleep apnea that stem from very different reasons. The first is Obstructive Sleep apnea, or OSA, which occurs when the airways are blocked by a collapsing palate at the back of the throat. The other, far less common kind of sleep apnea is not cause by any physical obstruction. It occurs when the part of the brain responsible for respiration stops sending messages to the lungs to breathe.
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of suffering from sleep apnea. Being a male and overweight will largely increase the chances of suffering from sleep apnea. Age can also have an impact, with the majority of patients being over the age of 40. Genetic disposition and large tonsils can also be contributing factors.
Sleep apnea is not itself dangerous but can be the underlying cause of a number of other health concerns. Hypertension and stress can occur as the direct result of sleep apnea. There is also research that suggests that sleep apnea may be a significant factor in causing patients to have strokes and heart attacks. Research has also shown that children who suffer from sleep apnea often struggle with schoolwork and attention span generally.
Dentists can play an important part in the treatment of sleep apnea. Different patients respond differently to different treatments but one of the most successful is the application of a mouthpiece to keep the palate open at all times during sleep. If you or someone you know suffers from sleep apnea, make an appointment to see a City of London dentist and you may be able to get a good night’s sleep for the first time in a while.