Welcome to Santa Cruz Dental Sleep Medicine
What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormal breathing patterns while asleep. This irregular breathing is due to an obstruction in the airway that takes place during sleep. The obstruction comes from the tongue loosening and then collapsing into the airway. A blocked airway is very bad for breathing, and the result is the snoring you hear when the body is fighting to breathe.
Loud snoring is mostly what sleep apnea is known for. However, relatively unknown to most are the adverse medical side effects that are linked to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is quite scary, on top of snoring you will notice gasping coming from someone who is suffering from this terrible condition. This gasping is because the body is fighting to breathe; apnea literally means “cessation of breath”. In severe cases of sleep apnea people can stop breathing up to 30 or more times in a single hour.
This irregular breathing pattern leads to very bad sleep. Cardiac problems, high blood pressure, and increased chance of stroke are just a few of the side effects linked to untreated sleep apnea; the American Heart Association (AHA) compared its risk to that of smoking cigarettes. In addition to medical effects sleep apnea leaves sufferers dealing with Extreme Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). This daytime fatigue leaves people feeling unproductive, unmotivated, and can lead to feelings of depression. Those people commuting to work each day are at a higher risk of getting into a car accident; many thousands of car accidents annually are attributed to people driving tired.
Finding quality sleep apnea treatment should be a top priority to anyone suffering from it!