What Are the Three Different Types of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep. Though snoring is a very common symptom of sleep apnea, it is not the case that everyone who snores has the condition or that everyone who has the condition will snore.
At London Road Dental, we provide treatment for sleep apnea in Lethbridge. We look for other symptoms that can help us not only diagnose the condition but determine which of the three types of sleep apnea you may have.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea in Lethbridge. As the name suggests, it is due to an obstruction of some kind in the upper airway which disrupts the normal process of inhalation and exhalation. It is usually due to the tissues and muscles in the upper airway becoming too relaxed, causing them to collapse during sleep. This can be caused by age, congenital issues, excess body weight, and even certain medications that cause tissue relaxation. Obstructive sleep apnea is purely a mechanical issue.
People who have obstructive sleep apnea may cease breathing in their sleep for 10 or more seconds until the brain recognizes the oxygen shortage. They will then typically wake up gasping or coughing.
Central Sleep Apnea
Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is not caused by a mechanical issue. Rather, an episode of central sleep apnea occurs when the brain simply fails to send a signal to the diaphragm to continue breathing. While you can control your breathing with conscious effort while you are awake, it becomes purely under the control of your autonomic nervous system while you are asleep. If the brain does not send the proper signal, then you may stop breathing.
Thankfully, the cessation is temporary and your body will eventually start breathing again. However, the level of oxygen in your body can get dangerously low in the meantime. People with central sleep apnea may or may not wake up due to an episode. Age, neurological issues, medications, and serious health conditions can all contribute to this form of sleep apnea.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Mixed sleep apnea is a mixture of the two types of sleep apnea described above. As obstructive sleep apnea can mask the presence of central sleep apnea, it can be difficult to determine when someone is experiencing both. Mixed sleep apnea is therefore typically diagnosed after a patient has successfully been treated for obstructive sleep apnea but continues to stop breathing while they sleep.
Free Consultation for Sleep Apnea in Lethbridge
Sleep apnea can have negative long-term effects on the quality of your sleep and on your overall health. If you have issues with snoring or if you often wake up gasping for breath, with a sore throat, or still feeling tired, then it's time to seek treatment for sleep apnea in Lethbridge. At London Road Dental, we provide free consultations, take-home sleep studies, and customized treatment options.
To schedule your free consultation for sleep apnea in Lethbridge, just contact London Road Dental today.