Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition in which your breathing stops during sleep. People with sleep apnea are more likely to die prematurely from a host of potential causes from car accidents to stroke to suicide. The good news is that with treatment sleep apnea’s effects can be lessened. However, the right kind of sleep apnea treatment for you depends on the type of sleep apnea you have.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea, sometimes called OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when your airway collapses at night, preventing you from breathing. This leads to an oxygen shortage, which causes your brain to partly awaken so you can resume breathing.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the easiest to treat. A good front-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is an oral appliance that helps position your jaw, which supports your airway, in such a way that it holds open the passages so you can continue to breathe. Another treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), an air pump and gas mask configuration that constantly pumps air into your throat to keep it open. CPAP works well and is the only therapy approved for severe sleep apnea, but unfortunately, it’s hard for many patients to keep up the routine. Sometimes, surgery is also used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is the result of a completely different cause. In central sleep apnea, your brain just stops telling your body to breathe. Again, when your body becomes aware of an oxygen shortage, your brain wakes up enough to resume breathing.

CPAP is the only treatment approved for central sleep apnea, but several experimental treatments are being developed.

For more information about sleep apnea treatment in the Pittsburgh area, please contact Dentonics, Inc for an appointment.

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